Pothole crash leads to R1.6m claim

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The failure of the government to repair a pothole at an estimated cost of R500 could end up costing almost R1 million. Stock photo: Chris Collingridge

A Delmas man is claiming R1.6 million in damages from the South African National Roads Agency after he hit a hole in the road surface on the N12 highway and suffered severe head injuries and a fractured arm and leg and shattered nasal bones.

Jacobus Minnie, 31, stated in papers before the Pretoria High Court that he was riding along this highway in the early hours of January 30, 2005, when the front wheel of his motorbike struck a large hole in one of the lanes.

He crashed and suffered various injuries. He had to be evacuated by emergency helicopter to the Milpark Hospital, where he remained for eight weeks. He had to undergo several operations and used crutches for a long time to walk.

Minnie stated that he still suffered from frequent headaches and often had pain in his left thigh and right forearm. He could not work for four months after the accident.

According to court papers, he has scars over his face, arms and thigh, which “disfigurement” is likely to be permanent.

He blamed the accident on the alleged negligence of the roads agency, which he said had a duty to maintain the freeway and which had to see to it that the hole was filled.

Minnie said the road agency also had a duty to warn the public about the dangerous condition of the freeway.

The road agency denies liability and said a written contract had been entered into between it and various contractors, in terms of which they were liable for the maintenance of this freeway. It was also claimed that Minnie contributed to the accident in some way.

Judge Joseph Raulinga meanwhile gave the roads agency permission to amend its court papers.

Pretoria News


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