Lifestyle & Belief

South African man misses mother's funeral due to pothole


Potholes, the bane of motorists the world over.


Jeff J. Mitchell

JOHANNESBURG — A South African professor who missed his mother's funeral after hitting a pothole said he plans to sue the government.

Wannie Carstens was on the way to his mother's funeral, traveling at about 60 miles an hour in early morning darkness, when his Mercedes-Benz hit a pothole that shredded both left tires, the Beeld newspaper reported.

Carstens, director of the school of languages at North-West University in Potchefstroom, said his car was towed to the nearest city, and the tires replaced. But he was unable to continue on his journey to Upington, about 380 miles away, due to possible damage to the car's chassis and wheel rims.

"My brother was upset, and my sister was in tears," Carstens told the newspaper.

He wants to sue the provincial government for $790 for the damage to his car, but said nothing can make up for the emotional loss of missing the funeral of a parent.

A spokesman for the roads department in South Africa's North West province admitted that the road in question needs major repairs, but said there is a lack of funding, Beeld reported.

Last year, a South African man was awarded $225,000 in damages from the department of roads in Limpopo province after he was thrown off a pickup truck when it hit a pothole. The man, who was riding in the back of the pickup truck, suffered serious injuries to his leg.

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