Appeal on car crash ruling

The KwaZulu-Natal department of transport is to appeal against a Pietermaritzburg high court ruling that it must pay 70 percent of R30million damages to an Australian injured on the Sani Pass road in March 2005.

The KwaZulu-Natal department of transport is to appeal against a Pietermaritzburg high court ruling that it must pay 70 percent of R30million damages to an Australian injured on the Sani Pass road in March 2005.

This follows an order by Judge Sharmaine Balton lasts week that MEC Bheki Cele and his department must pay electrician Murray Eastman, who was left a paraplegic by an accident.

Balton said the poor state of the road to Lesotho was an indictment of the department.

Eastman, now confined to a wheelchair, was with his wife Jane when the incident occurred.

They were injured when a bakkie driven by retired Australian Robert Mitchell crashed on the road between Himeville and Sani Pass.

According to evidence given during the trial, Mitchell was driving fast on the wet, slippery road. He was ordered to pay 30 percent - R9 million - of the damages.

Balton said the failure of the department to maintain the safety of the road attracted a greater degree of negligence than Mitchell's action.

Departmental spokesperson Nonkululeko Mbatha said the department would appeal the ruling.

"As things stand the matter is sub judice, so I can't comment much. But I can confirm that we will appeal the ruling."

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