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KZN loses pothole appeal

2013-05-14 13:30

A R500 FIX COULD HAVE SAVED HER HAND: Zuma, a former hospital chef, is suing The KwaZulu-Natal administration for R1-million for failing to fix a pothole which resulted in her losing a hand in a crash.

The kwaZulu-Natal administration has been refused leave to appeal against a finding that its failure to repair a large pothole caused a taxi passenger to lose a hand.

The ruling in the Pietermaritzburg High Court related to a crash on the Greytown-Dundee road in 2004.

Hluphile Elda Zuma, a former hospital chef, lost a hand after a crash. Zuma claimed R1-million but the final amount will be decided later in 2013. The crash occurred when driver Zanani Langa swerved to avoid an oncoming vehicle near a pothole.

POTHOLE TO BLAME FOR CRASH

In December 2012, judge Jan Combrink said the kwaZulu-Natal premier and the MEC in charge of transport were liable for the damages claimed by Zuma. He blamed the roads department for failing to repair a pothole in the road; the hole was 9m long, 2.5m wide and as much as 25cm deep which contributed to the crash.

The driver of her minibus testified that he drove on the wrong side of the road to try to avoid the pothole but was forced to swerve into it when a vehicle approached from the opposite direction at high speed.

The pothole would have cost R500 to repair.

A roads department official said the trial the road was adequately maintained. It was argued that the department lacked the funding for proper maintenance.

During the trial, the judge pointed out that the year 2004/5 saw the department spend R700 000 on tarring a road leading past the farm of S'bu Ndebele, a previous minister of transport and now of correctional services.
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