A massive pothole behind Campus Square in Auckland
A pothole near the Business Insider offices in Johannesburg. (File/Gallo Images)
Gallo Images Beeld/Felix Dlangamandla
  • Johannesburg's Pothole Patrol public-private partnership now accepts reports via WhatsApp.
  • You can add a photo if you like, but you can also just drop a location pin.
  • That will create a report with a reference number you can use to follow up the status of your pet pothole.
  • An inspector will be sent to the site within two weeks of your report, Pothole Patrol promises.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

The Johannesburg Pothole Patrol, a public-private partnership engaged in a "war on potholes", now accepts reports via a WhatsApp chatbot.

Thanks to a system that uses WhatsApp location pins, reporting a pothole can take less than three minutes from start to finish, testing by Business Insider South Africa showed, and less for a second or third report after you are registered.

Then, the Pothole Patrol promises, an inspector will check it out within ten working days, while you can track progress via the same system.

The City of Johannesburg, Dialdirect Insurance, and Discovery Insure announced the Pothole Patrol initiative at the end of March. Now, just ahead of Joburg's rainy season – when the potholes come out to play – they have launched both a new app and the WhatsApp option. 

See also | Insurance snitch units on cars are going to help fix Johannesburg’s potholes

The WhatsApp system requires only a message such as "hi" to 084 POT HOLE, or 084 768 4653. That initiates a request to accept terms and conditions, provide a first name, and then you can provide a location for the pothole you would like to report.

Pothole

You can use the reference number provided to track progress for that pothole or, thanks to the account associated with your phone number, you can request an update on all the potholes you have reported at once.

The Pothole Patrol promises to have an inspector on site within ten working days, or two weeks outside of holiday seasons, after which more information should be available on each report.

10 days for a pothole inspection

At the launch of the new reporting channels this week, the partners said they had already repaired more than 50,000 potholes over the past six months, an average of more than 8,000 per month.

(Compiled by Phillip de Wet)

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