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Avis Partners with Discovery Insure as Pothole Patrol Initiative



Avis joined Discovery Insure as a Pothole Patrol partner

Avis joined Discovery Insure as a Pothole Patrol partner, aiming to address the persistent potholes on Johannesburg’s roads. Launched in May 2021, the collaborative project involves Discovery Insure, the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA), the City of Johannesburg, and Dialdirect, working together to repair potholes in Gauteng through a public-private partnership. While the latter partner’s contract recently expired, Discovery Insure welcomes Avis to the Discovery Pothole Patrol.

Potholes pose a significant safety hazard, resulting in an estimated monthly cost of approximately R500 million. Recognising the magnitude of the problem, Anton Ossip, CEO of Discovery Insure, expressed enthusiasm about the cross-sector partnership, emphasising its potential to make Johannesburg’s roads safer for all residents.

According to TimesLIVE, Avis CEO Ramasela Ganda echoed this sentiment, stating that the collaboration with Discovery Insure and the JRA will enable them to deliver on their commitment to improving road conditions and positively impacting the lives of customers and society.

The JRA, responsible for managing a vast network of 13,599 kilometres of roads in Johannesburg, is dedicated to providing accessible and livable roads for communities. The extended partnership with the Discovery Pothole Patrol will support the JRA in its mission by assisting depots with reactive maintenance on the road network, ultimately ensuring safer mobility for all road users, according to JRA acting CEO Zweli Nyathi.

Since its initiation, the Pothole Patrol initiative has successfully repaired nearly 175,000 potholes, resulting in fewer incidents on Johannesburg roads over the past two years. The Discovery Pothole Patrol app has been instrumental in this effort, with approximately 13,000 downloads and 58,000 potholes reported through the platform, as shared by Discovery.


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Acknowledging the challenges faced by the transport portfolio in road maintenance, Kenny Kunene, a member of the mayoral committee for transport, commended the partnership and highlighted the budgetary constraints and backlog in fixing roads. Additionally, Kunene emphasised that the road network needs significant upgrades and mentioned the detrimental effects of illegal mining by zama zamas and water leaks caused by informal car washes, which contribute to road surface damage.

Kunene praised the Discovery Pothole Patrol initiative as an exemplar of how the JRA and the city’s transport department are transforming their approach to service delivery.

To further address the issue, Discovery Insure and Avis have established an academy in Modderfontein, east of Johannesburg. The academy serves as a skills-development centre, providing young individuals from nearby communities with training in pothole repair. The graduates will not only join the existing team of technicians. They will also receive business skills training, encouraging them to establish their small businesses within the road maintenance industry, as explained by Kgodiso Mokonyane, Head of Strategy and Value-Added Products at Discovery Insure.

To enhance the effectiveness of the Pothole Patrol, advanced technology has been introduced in the form of Amehlo, an artificial intelligence (AI) software. Developed locally by entrepreneur Aubrey Mnisi, Amehlo, meaning “eyes” in isiZulu, is attached to a moving vehicle. In real-time, it utilises radar, depth-optical sensors, and LiDAR technology to analyse environmental data, including road markings, conditions, traffic signs, and more. This AI software can identify cracks and imperfections, categorise potholes by size, and provide valuable insights for prioritisation in the repair process.


Despite implementing new technology, the Pothole Patrol emphasises the importance of community input. They encourage citizens to report potholes through the Discovery Pothole Patrol app, readily available for download on the IOS app store and Google Play. The community’s involvement remains invaluable in promptly identifying and addressing pothole locations, ensuring that the Pothole Patrol can efficiently carry out its road repair and maintenance mission.

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The introduction of Avis as a partner in the Pothole Patrol initiative, the establishment of the Pothole Patrol academy, and the implementation of advanced technology such as Amehlo demonstrate a comprehensive approach to tackling the pervasive issue of potholes in Johannesburg. By combining the expertise and resources of multiple stakeholders, including Discovery Insure, Avis, the JRA, and the City of Johannesburg, this collaboration aims to make a tangible difference in improving road conditions and promoting safer mobility.

The ongoing commitment to addressing the challenges of potholes extends beyond mere repairs. With the establishment of the Pothole Patrol Academy, young individuals from nearby communities can acquire valuable skills in pothole repair while also being equipped with essential business knowledge to foster entrepreneurship in the road maintenance industry. This holistic approach contributes to safer roads and empowers local communities by creating employment opportunities and nurturing self-sufficiency.

Furthermore, integrating innovative technology, such as the Amehlo AI software, marks a significant step forward in identifying and prioritising potholes. The real-time data and insights provided by Amehlo enable the efficient allocation of resources, ensuring that repairs are carried out with maximum effectiveness and impact.


The Pothole Patrol initiative is a testament to the transformative potential of collaborative efforts and innovative solutions in addressing infrastructure challenges. By leveraging the collective strength of public and private entities, Johannesburg is taking proactive steps towards creating a safer and more accessible road network for its residents.

As the Pothole Patrol continues its mission to eliminate one pothole at a time, the partnership between Discovery Insure, Avis, and other stakeholders remains vital.

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Picture: Facebook / Doug Greenwald


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