Boksburg pensioner unhappy about metro’s pothole pay-out

He subsequently laid a claim for damages with the Ekurhuleni metro but, to date, only half of the money to cover the damages has been settled.

He claimed R3 510.40 for damage to a tyre (R770), a rim (R2 490,40) and the wheel alignment of the vehicle (R250).

The Metro did compensate Pienaar but only for R1 755.20.

“Why was I compensated for only half a tyre, half a rim and wheel alignment for two wheels?” asked Pienaar.

“In my claim documents, submitted on April 17, I provided all the necessary reports, photos and proof required.”

To date, Pienaar has not yet received an explanation from the municipality for the shortfall of R1 755.20.

He has sent regular emails to Metro claim administrator but received no response.

“Why must I accept a settlement for 50 per cent of my claim? I do not understand it and wish to know why,” asked Pienaar.

“We as taxpaying residents and pensioners deserve a better service than what we are currently experiencing and paying for.”

Themba Gadebe, a Metro spokesperson, explained that in a liability claim against the Metro, the claimant has to prove that the municipality was aware of a certain hazard and failed to take reasonable precautions to mitigate risk.

“The claimant, however, has the responsibility to keep a proper lookout and to exercise due caution when using roads in Ekurhuleni,” explained Gadebe.

“It is not within the Metro’s means or ability to tend to all potholes immediately after they have formed.

“Ekurhuleni also cannot patrol every road in its jurisdiction on a daily basis and therefore relies on the public and its employees to report potholes.”

Gadebe said it should be noted that a claims administrator has no authority to rule on claims.

“Such authority lies with Ekurhuleni’s insurers. For them to be able to rule on a claim they require the complete claims information from the claimant as well as a report from the department concerned regarding the pothole whether they were aware of it or not, when they became aware of it and whether it could have caused the damage.

“Although these reports are requested from the roads department on a daily basis, the actual delivery thereof is in many instances unduly delayed and this causes delays in claims being finalised.”

Gadebe said anyone who wants to institute a claim against the municipality has an array of legal avenues at their disposal.

“The majority of liability claims have been tried and tested and there are many court rulings on such matters for reference.

“It is, however, common cause that claims will not be paid merely because a claim is made.

“There is due process to be followed before the insurers will rule on a claim and the facts have to be ascertained.

“Claimants are free to appeal an unsuccessful claim or to take the matter further through the legal avenues if they so desire.”

Ischke de Jager

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