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‘I can make a difference’

Various drivers react differently to these pothole fillers.

A resident of Welverdiend is trying to improve the area by fixing potholes on the main route to the town.

Unemployed Monde Hlomola (30) started filling potholes because he wanted something to do. He lives with his uncle in Welverdiend and is part of a group of men who fill potholes in and around the town on the main route from the N14. While the authorities ignore these dangerous potholes, these men fill them with sand for whatever change passing drivers give them.

“It is okay with us if they don’t give us anything. You must be emotionally ready for everything. Some drivers are drunk, but other times, you get something for bread tomorrow,” Hlomola explains. Hlomola, who fills potholes outside Welverdiend near where the main road crosses the Wonderfonteinspruit, says many passing drivers know him by now.
“Many good Samaritans from the farms regularly go into town and bring me food on the way back. It helps a lot because I sometimes don’t eat breakfast before I come here. Once, a man even gave me R100. Some people just chat to me. A friendly old lady will say, for instance – check; there is still a “gaatjie” (small hole). It motivates you a lot and keeps you going when it gets cold,” he says.

According to Hlomola, other drivers are not so friendly. He has learnt not to ask taxi drivers for money, but their passengers often give him something. The drivers of trucks and cars are usually the most forthcoming when it comes to tips.

Hlomola says making a difference to make the road safer and improving his life drives him to continue what he does. He also loves being in nature and enjoys observing the fish and birds while working. Sometimes, even antelopes come up to the river.

He uses his equipment to fill the holes. Anyone who thinks they can help Hlomola in any way can contact him at 061 044 8237.

The friendly Monde Hlomola enjoys helping to keep the road into Welverdiend safe.

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