The South African Automobile Association estimates that about 60% of South Africa’s roads are potholed or are in need of maintenance.
It is not only an irritant, causing vehicle damage, declining road infrastructure claims lives.
A man was killed over the past weekend in KwaZulu-Natal when his motorcycle struck a pothole.
And the City of Johannesburg and the Ekurhuleni metro are facing a R800,000 lawsuit over their inability to fix potholes, according to a weekend report in the Sunday Times.
mechanical engineer, Franciscus Liebenberg was seriously injured when lost control of his bike while trying to avoid multiple potholes.
He instituted the claim in 2011, two years after the incident, which saw him hospitalised for three days, and in need of extensive surgery.
Liebenberg is reportedly suing the cities for R500,000 in future medical expenses and R250,000 for general damages.
According to the report, Ekurhuleni has denied any culpability in the incident, saying Liebenberg failed to drive with care.
Who’s to blame
Potholes are an increasing problem in Joburg cities where traffic congestion is compounded by crumbling infrastructure on many side-routes.
The problem is so pervasive that the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) launched a Find&Fix app in 2014, for people to report road problems including potholes, and faulty traffic lights.
Joburg residents file on average 1,000 pothole reports per week using the app, while the JRA claims over 4,500 potholes had been fixed in July, alone.
In October 2014, the JRA said that 27% of the Johannesburg’s roads are ranked as ‘poor’ according to the Visual Condition Index (VCI).
The group blamed increased traffic levels, vandalism and aging infrastructure for the city’s road woes.
According to the Sunday Times, the City of Joburg has spent over R200 million since 2009 fixing potholes, while the City of Tshwane has spent close to R300 million on the same task.