News24

Officials must pay up after pothole crash

2012-12-05 20:10

Pietermaritzburg - The KwaZulu-Natal premier and the minister of transport were ordered to compensate a taxi passenger who was injured when a taxi overturned because of a pothole, the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg ruled on Wednesday.

Judge Jan Combrink said the "massive" pothole was about 9m long, 2.5m broad and between 20cm  to 25cm deep.

He said it stretched across the travelling surface and drivers crossed the "wrong" lane to avoid it.

The amount in damages to be paid to Hluphile Zuma, of Tugela Ferry, has not yet been decided.

The accident took place in December 2004 on the Greytown-Dundee tar road.

The taxi driver, Jabu Langa, testified that he used the road several times a day and knew the pothole well.

He said that to avoid the pothole he would cross over into the oncoming lane. But on that day a bakkie rounded a bend "very fast" and this prompted him to turn left into the pothole.

The taxi overturned, injuring Zuma and 12 other passengers.

A witness from Zimane Construction, which was contracted to repair that section of road, claimed the pothole was repaired in December 2004 but the repair was washed away.

Combrink rejected this evidence, saying it was full of contradictions and inaccuracies.

A roads department official told the court that the funds made available to the department had to be spread to various projects and admitted that there was not enough funding.

Combrink said that the "cat got among the pigeons" when court officials did an inspection of road tarred past the gate of then KwaZulu-Natal transport MEC Sbu Ndebele.

It was a minor gravel road and the resurfaced section served only two farms, one of which belonged to Ndebele.

Combrink said that this upgrade cost more than R700 000 in the 2004/2005 financial year. "[The roads department official] was constrained to admit it was not a formally funded project," said Combrink.

"It follows that those funds were probably obtained from funds allocated to another project. During the same year R218 000 was spent by the department on gifts and donations."

Comments
  • Desilusionada - 2012-12-05 20:27

    "pothole was repaired in December 2004 but the repair was washed away." Like the bridges and roads tendered for by an other KFC fan......

      george.pistorius - 2012-12-05 22:11

      If it was a white person so be it???

  • grant.montgomery.5074 - 2012-12-05 20:31

    No doubt the tax payer will be paying the compensation. The acciddent happened 8 years ago, why has it taken so long to be resolved?

      norman.buchalter - 2012-12-05 20:45

      Took them that long to climb out of the pothole. It was awesomely deep and wide you know!

      sheik.mohammad.378 - 2012-12-05 21:37

      And you still ask.........

  • norman.buchalter - 2012-12-05 20:44

    Please get rid of these people who are self-serving and do not understand the colour of money let alone have any clue as to the value of money. VOTE THEM OUT. ONCE AND FOREVER.Are we as people, taxpayers and citizens so brainwashed that we believe there is no option to the A n C and that we must forever remain linked to their greed and corruption. believe me people, you will ALL NOT BENEFIT from tenders! You will remain POOR while they LIVE IT UP and PARTY with your money!

      duane.low - 2012-12-06 03:41

      why tell us? most of us are whites..... it is the rural people that dont have a comp, or internet and most probably dont read this site? ever wonder why there so many different parties in politics? divide and concuer!

  • bertus.pretorius.1 - 2012-12-05 20:59

    So the tax payer's money was not only not used to repair this hole, its used to compensate those injured as well. In the end, how hard did this hit the relevant authority to pull up their socks? We wouldn't know untill we are financially bled dry.

  • debduplessis - 2012-12-05 21:15

    I wonder if this Zuma is related to THE corrupt Zuma family busy fathering the nation???

      avremel.niselow - 2012-12-05 21:18

      Unlikely, zuma's family ride in BMW's not taxis.

  • debduplessis - 2012-12-05 21:16

    Funny how this too is in KZN ... Just down road from kaga-gate!

  • zelda.dickson - 2012-12-05 21:43

    About time they were taken to court and lost the case. Roads are in a disgusting state and even when they fix them it is done shabbily so they do not last long.

  • sipho.zuma.796 - 2012-12-05 22:19

    That is one dangerous stretch of road. Had an accident there myself!

  • patricia.dewet.92 - 2012-12-05 22:32

    It is time they start paying out of there own pockets for these mistakes. No more taxpayers money. This is the only way that they will learn.

  • vernon12345 - 2012-12-05 22:48

    Lets sell Zuma's house to pay for all the potholes to be fixed . It was not even his money but yours and mine that he spent

  • johann.vanryneveld - 2012-12-06 02:25

    Been traveling between Put Sonder water en Graaf sonder steel a night and to my amazement saw there were cat eyes brought on in the road strange I tough , this worried me so eventually stopped to have closer look .I will be dammed not cats eyes but sheep trapped in the potholes

  • duane.low - 2012-12-06 03:36

    the time is coming to pay back for losses incured due to poor service del.

  • brionyl.french - 2012-12-06 05:19

    Just fix the roads ANC stupid government!!! And let go of the pipe dream of tolled roads!!!

  • michael.kleber.376 - 2012-12-06 06:17

    How is it possible that there isn't money to fix potholes yet they can tar a road going past the mec house and they can build a road going past nkandla , no etolling on these roads either paid for by the taxpayer , yet the roads we really need in gauteng cannot be paid for by the tax payer , get your priorities right lots of money to pay zumas home and ministers homes to be upgraded , yet never enough money to pay for the things we actually pay tax for , its time for change !

  • riaan.barnard.737 - 2012-12-06 07:00

    This can open a can of worms!

  • zirk.burger - 2013-01-25 20:35

    "The taxi driver, Jabu Langa, testified that he used the road several times a day and knew the pothole well. He said that to avoid the pothole he would cross over into the oncoming lane. But on that day a bakkie rounded a bend "very fast" and this prompted him to turn left into the pothole" If his is the case why did he not slow down to a speed that would be safe going through the pothole? He is trying to shift blam to the other oncoming vehicle.

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