Pothole lands RA in court

19 May 2021 | Accidents

Windhoek • [email protected]

The Roads Authority (RA) is being sued by a road user whose Toyota Fortuner was written off last year when his car collided with a pothole on the C44 Tsumkwe gravel road.
Angaleni Asipala is asking the court to award him N$165 612 in damages for the RA’s failure to properly maintain the road and for neglecting to warn motorists of the potholes.
Asipala’s claim particulars state his vehicle was damaged to the degree that it had to be sold for salvage, after he hit the pothole on the C44 road on his way to Maroelaboom in the Otjozondjupa region on 3 August 2020.
He is asking to be reimbursed for the money lost after his car was sold for salvage below the car’s value before the accident. He noted that the car, a 2012 Fortuner, was valued at N$229 650 prior to the accident. He was able to sell the damaged vehicle for scrap materials for N$76 038, and is asking that the RA pay the difference as well as N$12 000 towing fees incurred.
In his papers filed in February this year, Asipala says the collision “was caused solely as a result of the negligence” of the RA under whose ambit the maintenance of national roads falls. The added that the RA failed to maintain, or repair the broken road surface, and failed to “check the road surface on a regular basis for potholes or possible signs of deterioration”.
Furthermore, he says the RA “failed to put up the necessary warning signs to warn approaching motorists of the potholes” and failed in their duty to the general public to prevent harm or to inform motorists of the potential dangers of the road’s condition.

Improvements asked
In 2020 it was reported by Nampa that road users in the Otjozondjupa region called on the RA to improve and upgrade the C44, a 246km gravel road stretching from Grootfontein to Rundu and ending at Tsumkwe.
In their defence, filed in court, the RA denies any culpability and blame, and argues that Asipala has to prove before court what caused the collision. They further argue that the collision was caused through the plaintiff’s “own negligence” and that he likely failed to keep a proper lookout and failed to “maintain a moderate and reasonable speed under the circumstances”, and so failed to avoid the collision.
The RA further states that they are complying with their responsibilities as regards to national road networks.
Following a case management conference held this week, High Court judge Eileen Rakow postponed the case to 1 June for a status hearing.
Samuel Philander of LorentzAngula Inc. represents Asipala, while the RA is being assisted by government attorney Dirk Conradie of Conradie & Damaseb Legal Practitioners.

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