Here’s how to claim for vehicle damage due to potholes in Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Durban

Business Insider SA
  • If your car is damaged by potholes on national or municipal road, you can – in theory – claim from Sanral or the relevant municipality.
  • You'll need prove that the damage was cause by a pothole and supply photos.  
  • The authorities are responsible for ensuring that roads are maintained. 
  • If vehicles get damaged by a reported pothole, the Sanral or the city is considered to be negligent.
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If your car hits a pothole on a national or municipal road, you can claim from the government or municipality for damages – but you’d have to prove your case.

Authorities are expected to maintain roads and keep them user friendly, and not doing so amounts to negligence.

“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,” says road safety group Arrive Alive.

Depending on where the damage occurred, road users can claim either from either Sanral or their local municipality.

Damages that occur on national roads such as the N1, N2, N12 and others, should be directed to Sanral, which will pass responsibility to its contractors or road-work companies responsible for the maintenance of that road.

Municipal roads, on the other hand, have a different claims process. Road users would have to approach or contact the specific municipality or department of public works to find out what is required, and to submit relevant documentation. This process is likely to take some time.

To prove that a claim is not insurance fraud, claimants need to “prove that the damage was caused by a specific pothole, at a specific place and to a specific vehicle,” said Arrive Alive. “It is also important to show that there are not two claims for the same damage – so you may not claim from both your insurer and the insurer from the road works company.”

Here's how to claim from your local municipality

City of Johannesburg

In the City of Johannesburg, public liability claims include damage to vehicle, property or personal injury. An incident involving a pothole may result in a burst tyre or unexpected dent.

“If this damage is linked to the road infrastructure that we maintain in the City of Johannesburg you can file a claim for damages,” according to the City.

To submit a claim, users need to forward a completed Claim Form with applicable supporting documents to or contact 011 491-5734/ 011 298 5168.

 Here’s what you’ll need

  • Claimant’s Certified ID copy.
  • Affidavit commissioned at a police station, describing the incident, and confirming the items damaged.
  • Affidavit commissioned at a police station confirming non-insurance (if applicable).
  • Three recent repair/ replacement quotations of the damages.
  • Invoice should the claimant have replaced tyres or fixed the vehicle damage.
  • Damage report from the supplier/ repairer confirming the items which are damaged.
  • Photos of the damages (colour photos are preferable)
  • Photos of the pothole and location on the road (colour photos are preferable) (if applicable).
  • Copy of the motor vehicle license certificate
  • Copy of vehicle registration certificate
  • Copy of the purchase invoice of the original damaged tyre/s to verify the age of the damaged tyres. Please retain the damaged tyres should inspection be required. (if applicable)
  • Towing invoice to validate if claiming two tyres or more.


City of Cape Town

In the City of Cape Town, “it won't be a case of simply submit a claim and you will get paid,” said deputy Mayor of Cape Town Ian Neilson in a Cape Talk interview.

If your vehicle or tyre gets damages by a pothole in the City and you can prove it, you can claim from the municipality.

There is a standard process that needs to be followed and road users would have to provide adequate evidence. This includes stating account of damage, proof in the form of photos, and the costs to repair the damage.

City road engineers will then conduct investigations and establish whether the city had be informed that there was a pothole in that specific location.

“If we were not aware that there was a problem, if no one had reported that pothole, then therefore there would not be negligence on the part of the City,” said Neilson.

To submit a claim you can visit the Civic Centre at 12 Hertzog Boulevard, Cape Town 8001, or contact the relevant department on or 0800 656 463.

eThekwini Municipality

In Durban, affected road users are required to provide an accurate location of the incident, explain the seriousness of the pothole and a photo. This should also be accompanied by your name and contact details.

The claims email is Claimants are also urged to visit 6th floor Florence Mkhize Building, 251 Anton Lembede Street, Durban in order to fill in forms provided.

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