By Anna Louw

A huge sinkhole near Bapsfontein has caused part of the R25 between Benoni and Bronkhorstspruit to sag, and has already cost lives.

Linda de la Guerre, a resident in the area, said on Wednesday a motorist was decapitated apparently after losing control and colliding with a bakkie.

A passenger in the car also died, and the occupants of the bakkie were injured.

De la Guerre said there were frequent accidents on the road as a result of the depression in the tar.

"It is sagging and has become dangerous to travel on. There are no warning signs and the speed limit should be reduced," she said.

Democratic Alliance councillor Allan Sauls has called for warning signs with speed restrictions to be erected.

He has also requested the Ekurhuleni Metro to fast-track repairs to the sinkhole affecting the road. He said the road's condition presented a danger to users, and was worsening.

"I have received information that the affected part is under tender for repair. This process must be speeded up and users must be warned of the danger, as a sinkhole could open up on the road at any time," he said.

Ekurhuleni spokesperson Zweli Dlamini said the council gave priority to the protection of lives and safety of people.

"When the sinkhole problem started, we launched a search for a permanent solution - a process which is already at an advanced stage."

Dlamini said Bapsfontein was located in the Rietvlei/Delmas dolomite water area.

A number of medium-sized sinkholes and cracks opened up in the area during 2003/4 - with the largest sinkhole, the one affecting the R25, developing in a shallow drainage depression in January 2004.

The sinkhole was initially 30m in diameter and 20m deep. It had since doubled in size.

"This turn of events caused a major scare and the Ekurhuleni Metro decided to intervene," Dlamini said.

In an effort to ensure that people did not fall in, the sinkhole was fenced off with razor wire and a wall was built around it.

The municipality had appointed geotechnical consultants to investigate and to advise the metro on the cause of and solution to the problem.

Further investigation and studies costing R1,8-million were necessary.

"The metro has called for proposals for the next and final phase, and the report will be ready by June," he said.