Pothole victim gets R1.7m in damages

2011-12-08 10:11

Johannesburg - A Limpopo bakkie passenger who was flung off the vehicle when it hit a pothole, has been awarded R1.7m in damages, The Star reported on Thursday.

The province's roads and transport department agreed to settle a damages claim instituted by the man involved in a car accident on the Burgersfort road in 2008.

The claim was settled in the North Gauteng High Court after Hermanus Mare, 24, suffered serious fractures to his leg.

He subsequently spent three months in hospital and had to walk on crutches for about two years. He continues to walk with a limp and cannot stand for long periods of time.

Mare's injuries meant he could not return to work as a manual labourer on a mine after the accident.

In his claim, Mare said the department should have maintained the road and should also have erected a warning sign for travellers about the pothole.

He was on the back of the bakkie when the accident happened.

  • Gareth-P - 2011-12-08 10:15

    Anyone got a Bakkie, I wana go for a ride.

      Kacee - 2011-12-08 10:30

      Pity, what could have cost a couple thousand rand to fix, has now ended up in the millions, and an injured person. Flipping government should pay this out of their party money instead of the RAF.

      MoAfrika - 2011-12-08 10:33

      please dont leave me behind...

      rbphiri - 2011-12-08 10:41

      Sadly with the molestation of taxes and the ever increasing inflation rate R1.7m is nothing these days. If the government had any sense they would realize that it cost less to fix the roads than it is to pay out damages.

      TJ - 2011-12-08 10:44

      He is lucky. A friend of mine was thrown off the back of a bakkie when the driver had to swerve to avoid an accident with a truck that jumped a traffic light. A few days later my friend's parents had to make the difficult task to switch off the lift support machines. It happens so easily and is so dangerous. I cringe when I see people standing on the back of a bakkie, especially kids. My friend was sitting flat in a safe position. It's not just potholes we have to worry about but also all the other idiots on the roads. When the matrics celebrated the last day of school this year, that evening we saw bakkies with kids practically sardined on the back of the bakkies and the drivers driving like hooligans. It was so easy for these kids last day of school to be the last day of their lives as well. Please stay off the back of bakkies unless there is enclosures around you. It is just so dangerous.

      ekhiba - 2011-12-08 11:01

      Bakkie was never meant to transport people. that is why no seatbelts. my sympathy with with victim.

      goyougoodthing - 2011-12-08 12:00

      1.7 Million. Wow. I thought compensation should fit the earnings of the individual. How long would one have to work as a labourer to make 1.7 million? What about accidents from downed traffic lights and construction, can we all sue please.

      Sharkshoot - 2011-12-08 15:09

      In other countries it's illegal to sit on the back of a bakkie. In South Africa it's a lifestyle..moving coffins.

      Andries - 2011-12-08 17:47

      I think that is the most uncaring and low-down comment I have ever read on these forums. What kind of person will wish to have his life almost ended and with all the costs of pain and suffering and not be able to work anymore merely to be paid a quarter of the money he would have earned as a healthy and active person. The victim certainly would change places with you in a flash, let me tell you. Maybe commentators on these forums should really consider their utterings begorehand instead of shooting from the hip as you did.

  • sibiya.nqubeko - 2011-12-08 10:16


      StarStruck - 2011-12-08 10:39

      I agree. Things like potholes should be fixed when they appear. There is no shame in claiming for compensation due to the lack of service delivery.

      corrie.bresler - 2011-12-08 11:43

      The problem is when the pothole appears the foundation of the road is already damaged. To repair that will cost quite a bit more. Two things need to be done; regular re-surfacing of roads to obviate water damage and the removal of heavy cargo carriers from the roads back to rail, as transportation of heavy freight, coal, ore, etc., was not taken into consideration in the construction phase of a lot of these rural roads. I've actually driven the road from Middelburg to Burgersfort via Stoffberg and I must say it is one of the prettiest areas in the country. The road, however, is potholed virtually the whole way. Warnings of potholes all the way. I do think that putting up warnings does not exempt government from responsibility as we go into a contract with them to provide safe roads when we purchase our vehicle licenses and fill up at the fuel pumps. It seems the monies collected in these ways are not finding their way to the provision of safe roads.

  • nhlanhla.nyembe - 2011-12-08 10:16

    What! How is the government responsible for someone who is sitting unrestrained and unprotected at the back of the bakkie? this is not on, pot-hole or no pot-hole this would not have happened had common sense prevailed and the driver and victim made sure they did not create a dangerous situation.

      Kacee - 2011-12-08 10:34

      Funny, I agree with that, they should pay for damages to the vehicle.

      Kenny - 2011-12-08 10:38

      they are responsible because the roads should have been maintained with the money they get from fuel levies and taxes.

      StarStruck - 2011-12-08 10:41

      @-nhlanhla. SA does not have a law against sitting on the back of a bakkie that is why this person was able to claim. There is however a law about overloading.

      Katlego - 2011-12-08 11:02

      i feel the same way too, look at it this way both parties are to blame and got what was coming to them. The passanger got 3 months in hospital and is now without a job for that stupid decision he made. The govenment got to pay a million plus for some that could have cost them a ciouple of thousands even less...

      nhlanhla.nyembe - 2011-12-08 12:08

      Law or no law, common sense dictates that you sit at the back and you are involved in an accident of any kind chances are YOU WILL BE flung from the vehicle and risk hitting the road head first which more often than not is fatal. What this ruling effectively says is I can be sued and even charged with culpable homicide if I collide with a bakkie and someone dies as a consequence, a death that is total preventable. I refuse; this ruling is reflective of the judge’s personal perceptions and is not in the interest of justice. Did some digging around and found a law that specifies dimensions of the back enclosure and one that says carrying passengers for a fee is illegal but if you do not charge a fee the law is silent. In the absence of any law a reasonable man’s test should apply, I cannot see how the judge can justify his or her decision, not only does it not make sense it does not encourage good behaviour. I need a million or two; perhaps I should find a willing participant and a threatening pot-hole so I can enrich myself. I am all for pushing for proper road maintenance but this is ridiculous.

  • TheWatcher - 2011-12-08 10:17

    Isn't riding on the back of a bakkie against the law or is it only some organizations who have these rules?

      MissGremlinSays - 2011-12-08 10:22

      not sure of how the legislation is worded - I know you are not allowed to "transport your workers" on the back of a bakkie, but am not sure about casual travel arrangements.

      Kacee - 2011-12-08 10:32

      It is against the law, everyone in a vehicle should have a seat belt, but this is Africa, they only fine people with money so they can have fat Christmas parties.

      Lee - 2011-12-08 11:28

      I thought it was against the law.

      Selwyn - 2011-12-08 11:39

      I know it is against the law in Texas, USA to be transported in the back of a bakkie, not here! Pity, they should ban it but hey, it is Africa.

      Bob - 2011-12-08 13:01

      It is not illegal to travel in the back of a bakkie. It is illegal to stand, or sit on the wheel arch or the top of the bin sides..that's the only restrictions, besides overloading of course!

  • Stephen - 2011-12-08 10:45

    Why is it illegal to drive without a seat belt, but you can have 10 men standing in the back of a buckie? Why is it illegal to talk on your cell phone when driving, but no problem to operate a two-way radio.

      Selwyn - 2011-12-08 11:41

      It seems you sat at the back of a bakkie which hit a wall, you need to get your face panel beated, ooops soory did not realise that IS your natural face!!!

  • Mark - 2011-12-08 10:50

    In all honesty, if the law requires you to wear a seatbelt when in a car, why is that there is no law that prevents you from sitting on the back of a bakkie? Surely, one should be secured in a vehicle, no matter where you sit? In 1st world countries, like the UK, you are not allowed to sit in the back of a bakkie. Just a thought.

  • Ronnie - 2011-12-08 10:50

    he should've got more money

  • cosmos.ndebele - 2011-12-08 10:52

    You are sick, just let the guy enjoy the cash, all of u will take it.

      Mike_or_Mpho - 2011-12-08 11:02

      That's the problem, its our damn tax money! Where's the accountability? For F sakes already, what happened to common sense in this country

  • Katlego - 2011-12-08 10:58

    Guess what im doing this weekend???

      sibiya.nqubeko - 2011-12-08 11:02


  • ludlowdj - 2011-12-08 10:59

    Good the government has spent 18 years ignoring the voice of the people its time to pay the piper.

  • Mike_or_Mpho - 2011-12-08 10:59

    ok, this is strange, I was under the impression that it is illegal to transport people on the back of a bakkie in SA. We all know that the state of our roads is not idea to say the least, but R1.7 mil in damages?

      MoAfrika - 2011-12-08 11:47

      its not the driver that got the money...but then again its not entirely illegal to transport people at the back of a bakkie, they should seat cautiously, I am glad the guy took a bold step. Limpopo was last year a province that did not use even 1/3 of its allocated budget, they could fixed the roads...

  • Lee - 2011-12-08 11:26

    I thought you were not allowed to carry passengers on a back of a bakkie so why are we paying?

  • northsgn - 2011-12-08 12:01

    me two mw two

  • Mphotent - 2011-12-08 12:24

    Gareth, the Act recieved amendment in August 2008, careful.. you got to be damaged 30% to quality on what would constitute handsome shake.

  • Willem - 2011-12-08 12:27

    Can I claim for my damaged wheel? and perhaps the suspension was also damaged. What about all the Toyota bakkies that rolled because of the potholes. I hope all the people who crashed cars on the N12 claim as well. That road is the most dangerous construction site in the world, and most properly the one who took the longest to build as well and will be the most expensive as well. Don't tell me we do not have world first in this country.

      barb.magill - 2011-12-08 22:52

      We also had a damaged wheel which cost us plenty to replace! Never thought to sue! Damn!!

  • Deon - 2011-12-08 12:30

    The claim was settled by both parties, but this is 1 division that was taken over by Gov. He might have to fight another few years to get paid as Limpopo is a bit in the red. (+R700 million)

  • braamc - 2011-12-08 12:48

    Instead of fixing the potholes, rather pay damages. Useless bunch

  • nmunyai - 2011-12-08 13:01

    good precedent...i will follow suite...

  • Kevin - 2011-12-08 13:30

    Geluk........happy Christmas buddy!

  • tracey.baard - 2011-12-08 14:13

    this is a lose-lose situation. in other countries, transporting passengers on the back of bakkies is illegal. sympathies to the victim, but when you travel unrestrained at your own peril, the government can't really be held responsible. it's the same with smoking... by now everybody knows it's dangerous, warnings everywhere, but people still smoke.

  • Zanele - 2011-12-08 15:10

    Well clearly they prefer paying loads of money instead of fixing the problem. Why is it that something bad has to happen before if is actually delt with? This is really rediculous. Lets report all potholes on mobilitate so that they can be fixed. Better now then never.

  • Bloody-Agent - 2011-12-08 15:29

    A Very good friend of mine whom today is paralyzed because he lost control of his vehicle after hitting a pothole never received anything from the government, all he wants is to be able to pay his medical bills, yet his friend whom is black and was in the car with him received an substantial amount from the government.. Up until today they still can't give him a valid reason why they won't pay out, even if it is just to cover the medical bills..

      Robbie - 2011-12-08 21:10

      @bloody-agent it's Cos your friend has a kuk lawyer.

      barb.magill - 2011-12-08 22:55

      He must stick to his guns and keep on pestering them until they pay up! it's disgusting to have to beg!!Was his passenger injured?

  • Helmut - 2011-12-08 17:01

    I agree Kenny. The problem is the bastards all have deep pockets and short arms!

  • Piet - 2011-12-08 17:42

    This is why Toll-roads are important. To fund this, instead of maintaining all roads and prevent this.

      Peter - 2011-12-08 22:15

      That was not the motivation when the tollroads were introduced. So it cannot be why "This is why Toll-roads are important. To fund this, instead of maintaining all roads and prevent this." Which fool told you this lie?? Ask your money back from school!

  • Peter - 2011-12-08 22:11

    The problem is 2 fold. 1) Why is the roads in such a bad state? Enough money is paid trough license fee's and toll roads. 2) Why are people allowed on the back of a bakkie without any protection while the people inside are fined if they are not wearing seatbelts. The system is is failing itself!!

  • Michael - 2011-12-08 22:49

    What a twat. Where was the seatbelt?

  • aardvarkie - 2012-02-02 12:36

    I thought people weren't allowed to sit on the back of bakkies anymore? It's an invitation to become a road pattie.

      aardvarkie - 2012-02-02 12:42

      Aah never mind, just read all the other comments, so that answers that... I had an extra seatbelt put in the middle of my bakkie (just goes around the waist) in case I need to transport a third person - I never allow people to sit on the back, not even laborers - only time I make an exception is when I'm camping and driving at 10km/h in the bush, even then I don't really like it.

  • Glenn - 2012-02-02 13:04

    I bet he was riding without a canopy if he got flung out. That is why it is illegal. It isn't the roads departments fault if you aren't secured in the vehicle. It IS law that passengers are not allowed on an open bakkie although many people do this.

  • petrakzn - 2012-02-06 06:38

    Please do not suggest a law preventing the transportation of people in the back of bakkies! Police vehicles (van's) will then have a chance of being re-issued with volvo's (the safest cars around) lol

  • Theo - 2012-04-17 10:29

    This must also take place or some victims to be paid in Mafikeng, asspecially for roads in the units where i have personlly incured huge damages. writes Theo Scotch

  • JOHNY63 - 2012-12-05 21:32

    Good for him. R1.7m over a life time of suffering sounds a lot but in 10 years time it is nothing. Hope he buys rental property then he can enjoy rental as well as capital gain.

  • pages:
  • 1