I have recently become the latest victim of a pothole that just "appeared" in the road I was traveling and found myself with not only a damaged tyre but also further damage to my vehicle's suspension and wheel. I believe that an accident of this nature occurs almost daily in South Africa and as such I believe that this blog will be relevant for the average South African.
Due to the total dilapidated state of our roads and the dysfunctional Municipalities governing our towns, the legal question very often arises whether or not the municipalities can be held accountable for the damages suffer as a result of potholes.
It is so that certain insurance companies and various tyre manufactures have now invented insurance policies just for an such an occasion but the real question is, who's responsibility is it to pay for damages resulting from a pothole?
Is it despite of the hefty taxation of the members of the public, i.e. income tax, fuel tax, vehicle tax and so forth, still the same member's responsibility to on top of all his or her other expenses and also make provision for tyre insurance should they sustain damage to their tyres, or should the Municipalities despite the fact that it is their responsibility to maintain the roads in its area of government be summonsed and taken to task for its failure to maintain the roads in its area of governance?
Ex lege in terms of the constitution of the Republic of South Africa, the municipality has a legal duty to maintain the roads within it's area of governance and should they fail to maintain same, any damage caused by the Municipality's omission to perform it's statutory obligation can result in a successful claim against the Municipality.
It should also be noted that the Municipalities have insurance for claims of this nature and should there be no reason whatsoever why the Municipalities should not be taken to task for their failures.
It must however be noted that the same evidence is required in matters of this nature as is required in normal delict matters and should you at least take photos of the damage to your vehicle, the pothole and the road your were traveling in.
I hope that this blog helps people take back their towns even if it is one summons at a time until next time.