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Potholes - how do you claim for damages?

Potholes, especially in the Free State, have unfortunately become all too common in our daily lives and road users have almost become accustomed to them. Although we all know that it is best to bypass these nasty craters, we sometimes find them unavoidable, with the result that our vehicles suffer damage - usually tires and wheels that are irreparably damaged, but also damage to suspension systems, shock absorbers and other components. When a pothole is hit, it can have serious consequences because occupants are also exposed to possible injuries and in extreme cases it can even be fatal. This can eventually lead to liability claims against the driver.

In the event of damage, vehicle owners usually claim from their insurers but they can also claim compensation from either the municipality concerned, or the responsible road agency such as the Free State Department of Roads, Police and Transport, or SANRAL. Arrive Alive confirmed the following in a recent statement:

"There is a responsibility on the side of the authority to maintain roads and repair potholes. It will however also be a matter for the law of evidence as well as a matter to establish blame. The question would be whether there was negligence on the part of the roads or municipal authority in not repairing that pothole – thereby removing a clear and present danger to the road user." "There are reported cases in our law of significant damages awarded to people injured in accidents caused by these potholes."

What to do if you hit a pothole

NOTE: Even if you hit a deep pothole at a relatively low speed, and do not necessarily damage tires and wheels, the damage might not be visible. It is best to have your vehicle inspected for any chassis damage. Also check your wheel alignment as the impact (regardless of speed) can have a negative effect on your car's steering system and suspension. Mafube Business Forum (MBF) recommend the following:

1. Determine the damage 2. Record the details 3. Report it 4. Submit a claim

MBF would like to assist our members with claims against Mafube Municipality or the Free State road authorities. Residents, business owners and taxpayers are welcome to visit our offices at 18A Church Street during our business hours, on Mondays to Thursdays from 08h30 to 16h00 and Fridays from 08h30 to 12h30, or contact Marina on WhatsApp on 079 145 4295. Or send a email to

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