Mpumalanga MEC must pay woman R450 000 after potholes cause her car to roll

Johannesburg - A Benoni motorist whose car overturned after she tried to avoid a pothole, only to hit another one, has been awarded damages of R450 000. 

The accident in which Mara Martha Rina Swart, 44, was injured, happened on September 27, 2012, when her car hit a pothole on a tarred road in Mpumalanga. 

That’s according to a medico-legal report in support of Swart’s claim, lodged in the High Court in Pretoria, against the Mpumalanga MEC for public works, roads and transport, Netwerk24 reported.

The court on Monday ordered the MEC to transfer the R450 000 to Swart’s lawyers.   

If it isn’t done within 60 days, interest will be charged.

The MEC must also pay Swart’s legal costs. 

Swart was involved in the accident while on her way to Piet Retief in her Tata Indica. She was near Dirkiesdorp, when she came across "several" potholes in the road, her lawyers wrote in a letter to the MEC. 

She wasn’t able to "avoid all the potholes" and her car hit "another/second pothole".

Due to the impact, she lost control of the vehicle and it overturned. The car was a write-off. 

Swart sustained soft tissue injuries to her neck, back and right shoulder. There were also injuries to her forehead, the medico-legal report said.

She was taken by ambulance to the Piet Retief Hospital, where the injuries were treated. She was in hospital for a week and had to wear a neck brace when she was discharged.

According to the report, Swart hadn’t been employed at the time. She’d previously worked in a butchery and a supermarket.

She hasn’t worked since the accident. She tried once to work a friend’s shift at the supermarket, but had to go home after a few hours because of a headache. 

According to the report, Swart’s injuries were hindering her ability to work again. She wouldn't be able to handle heavy objects and wouldn't be able to do "manual labour". 

Her quality of life, as well as enjoyment of life, would be moderately impaired because of the accident.

Swart had claimed just under R1.4m from the MEC.