The Limpopo transport MEC will have to compensate a Limpopo widow for her loss of support after her husband died when he swerved to avoid a pothole, lost control and overturned his car seven years ago.
Acting Judge Anthony Thobane yesterday ruled in the High Court in Pretoria that the negligence of the Limpopo transport department had resulted in the death of Swartwater farmer Hendrik Ferreira and his wife Adrie’s loss of support.
The widow instituted a damages claim against the MEC following her husband’s death in a car accident while driving back to the family farm one rainy night in 2010, after watching rugby with friends.
She claimed the road between Swartwater and Alldays, where her husband met his death, was full of potholes, had severe edge breaks and an eroded gravel shoulder and was not properly maintained.
Mrs Ferreira and her father-inlaw, Ignatius, who both regularly used the road, testified that it was in a bad state and full of potholes and did not have an emergency lane at the time.
Mr Ferreira took a video after the accident, showing all the potholes in the vicinity.
A police officer who attended to the scene testified that the road had been poorly maintained, requiring drivers to drive around potholes.
An accident reconstruction expert testified that Mr Ferreira had probably lost control of his car when trying to avoid a pothole and then collided with a steel pole, causing the car to overturn.
Two departmental road inspectors flatly denied that there were any potholes in the vicinity of the accident and insisted Mr Ferreira must have been driving too fast and his car had left the road because he could not negotiate a curve, but the reconstruction expert disagreed.
Judge Thobane said by all accounts the road where the accident occurred was busy and used by trucks transporting goods from the nearby mines.
It could be taken as common cause that the road had potholes at various spots.