Claiming for damages suffered due to potholes

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GK CRONJE

30 November 2021

A report must be compiled by the department, authorizing reimbursement from insurance through the Asset Management Unit of the municipality.

Suzuki Ermelo (WEB) 22 September 2020.jp

Widening, deep and hazardous potholes leave their mark on majority of the residential and central business district (CBD) streets in Ermelo, and the roads in the outer areas are also pitted with sink- and potholes. Several roads surfaces have been dug for water pipe repairs, and are thereafter not filled or repaired, some for several years. Enquiries and complaints from residents directed at Msukaligwa Local Municipality (MLM) fail to receive satisfactory feedback. Although municipal departments state that they do the best they can with the few resources available to them die to financial constraints, these statements are nothing but salt in the wounds of motorists who suffer daily damage and unnecessary wear and tear on their vehicles due to the ghastly road conditions.

Good news for frustrated motorists is that the maintenance of roads remains the responsibility of government, and that the government therefore is liable to cough up should a motorist suffer as a result of their failure to keep up with that responsibility. “There is a responsibility on the side of the authority to maintain roads and repair potholes. The question would be whether there was negligence on the part of the municipal authority in not repairing that pothole, thereby posing a clear and present danger to the road user,” Arrive Alive, road user watchdog, stated in a public informational post. “The road user would have to approach that specific municipal authority, and enquire from them which documentation to complete, and to whom to submit such a claim. This might unfortunately take more time and is also dependent on the efficiency of that municipal office. In the case of claims lodged, the motorist's ID document, driver's licence, car registration details, a signed declaration and three written quotes for repair are also required in order for the claim to be processed. The motorist should stop at the incident spot immediately, and may optionally report the matter to the local traffic police to get an incident report. Photos of the pothole that caused damage to your vehicle, as well as photos of the affected tyres or damaged areas should be taken immediately, including a photo or video of the street name. If anyone else witnessed you hitting the pothole or stopped to assist, take down their personal details. Claims should be lodged as soon as possible, as technical officers will be sent to the place of the incident to verify the cause of the incident, and the potholes or road conditions responsible for the damage suffered.”

In order to get the swiftest response, the motorist must submit a description or report, photos of the pothole and tyres, and invoice or quotation to the relevant municipality, in this case Msukaligwa Local Municipality’s Public Works & Basic Service Department. Thereafter, a report must be compiled by this department, authorizing reimbursement from insurance through the Asset Management Unit of the municipality.

Residents should take note that they can only claim for damages from either the municipality, responsible roads agency or your insurance company. You cannot submit a claim to both your personal insurance and the government organization.