Motorists invited to claim for pothole damages

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mbombela - Motorists whose vehicles have been damaged due to potholes in Mpumalanga have been urged to claim for damages from the provincial Public Works, Roads and Transport Department.

Department spokesman David Nkambule advised affected motorists to contact the department's regional offices in order to lodge their claims.

"Everyone who encountered a problem on our roads should contact our regional offices that are located in the place where the incident took place," said Nkambule.

Nkambule said once applications have been filed, they would be forwarded to the head office where a decision will be made.

He said the department's legal team would first establish the validity of the claims before money can be paid out to claimants.

"If the application is successful, the motorist will be notified about the amount that he or she is going to receive," said Nkambule.

The R40 road is one of the roads that have many potholes. It is considered important to the province's tourism drive because it is one of the roads that tourists are when driving to the world renowned Kruger National Park.

Pule Mamiane, a motorist from Marite, said his car nearly collided with a taxi that was trying to avoid a huge pothole in the middle of the road on the R40.

"The taxi was coming from White River heading towards Hazyview. It tried to avoid a pothole when it swerved and drove on the wrong lane meant for oncoming traffic. As I was trying to avoid the vehicle, my car lost control and entered into the nearby bushes," said Mamiane.

Mamiane said he and the taxi driver, whose taxi had also ploughed into the bushes, nearly traded blows over the incident.

"We started a huge argument and accused each other of bad driving. After a few minutes we stopped fighting as we realised that none of us was responsible for the damaged road," he said.

The national government has announced a R22 billion budget over the next three years on a countrywide pothole repair programme that is expected to create 70 000 jobs in its first year.

However, Nkambule could not say how much the department had budgeted for the claims. He only added that the budget would also be used in repairing potholes to avoid further damage to vehicles.

"We are currently assessing all our roads in order to establish a way forward and know the amount we need to spend for the repairs. The assessment will also help us to know the duration needed to complete the project," said Nkambule.