Government is losing money as victims of road accidents sue the state over poor road conditions. This is according to Gauteng Public Transport and Road Infrastructure MEC, Jacob Mamabolo. He said this during Putco’s launch of a fleet of 50 new buses at Roodeplaat Dam, which will transport commuters between Gauteng and Mpumalanga.
“We are sitting with about 350 cases against us that are brought by motorists as claims on potholes and their contributions to road accidents. Some of these claims go to municipalities but it actually indicates that potholes contribute significantly to fatalities in our roads,” the MEC said.
He added that road maintenance is critical to minimize road accidents caused by the poor stats of roads. “One of the accidents we had last year involving…I think five members of the same family around Hammanskraal …they died from an accident caused by smoke that impaired visibility on the road because there was fire [next to the road], so cutting grass on the roads is part of road safety,” he said.
Managing Director at Putco, Franco Pisapia, said the company has seen positive change in driver behavior. “I am pleased that since the introduction of our fleet monitoring programme, we have seen a change in driver behavior and a reduction in unfortunate road accidents where our buses were involved, especially along R573-Moloto corridor,” Pisapia said. “In 2016/17, our buses were regrettably involved in 61 accidents and by end of December 2019, the number had dropped significantly to 18,” he said.
The new buses were bought by Putco in collaboration with the Gauteng and Mpumalanga provincial governments. Moloto Road has been dubbed ‘the road of death’ due to many lives lost on this road over the years.