CLAIMS AGAINST DRAKENSTEIN MUNICIPALITY
Members of the public could lodge a claim against Drakenstein Municipality for loss or damage suffered to themselves or their properties as a result of negligence by the municipality. Liability claims received by the municipality will be considered on a “without prejudice” basis, investigated and a decision made on those findings within a reasonable timeframe.
Lodging a claim does not necessarily mean the claim would be approved – in this regard the following should be noted:
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A. Drakenstein Municipality is not automatically liable for any perceived damage, loss or injury. Claims will only be approved if it is proven that the municipality has been negligent in performance of duties or operations (for example: insufficient signage, substandard equipment, operator's non-adherence to procedures etc.).
Negligence, for example, could include a pothole hazard on the road having been logged via the call centre for fixing with the reference number as evidence readily available. Also, if a reasonable period of 48 hours has lapsed from the time the municipality became aware of the pothole but failed to take reasonable precautions to mitigate the potential loss or damage, then the municipality may be deemed to have been negligent. Inclement weather, public holidays, weekends and other unforeseen circumstances can affect the time span to fix a pothole.
B. Liability claims received will only be considered if the claim has been lodged as required by law (paragraph G below) and if all required information and supporting documentation as set out in steps 2 and 3 below has been submitted to the municipality within 15 business days of initially reporting the alleged incident.
C. Payment of compensation may be considered for an injury, loss or damage suffered, if it is established that the injury, loss or damage was a result of the municipality’s negligence. In order to establish whether the municipality was negligent an investigation will be conducted taking into account various factors including, but not limited to: circumstances around the injury, loss or damage; claimants’ statements; municipal records; statements by employees or third parties.
D. Section 20 of Drakenstein Municipality’s Electricity Supply By-Law indemnifies the Municipality against actions or claim arising out of any incidents quoted below:“The municipality shall not be held liable for any loss or damage, direct or consequential, suffered or sustained by a customer as a result of or arising from the cessation, interruption, or any other abnormality of the supply of electricity, unless caused by negligence on the part of the municipality.”
E. In what circumstances will claims be paid? Drakenstein Municipality can only pay a claim where: the circumstances of loss or damage reveal that the municipality acted negligently; the circumstances of the loss are not inconsistent with the Electricity Supply By-Law (see above the relevant section); the claimant has proved his/her loss or damage; the claimant has provided the proof of a fair and reasonable amount; no claim has been made and paid by personal insurance covering the same loss; and any other additional information requested has been received.
F. Whilst all liability claims will be considered by the municipality, the following claims are generally not successful: damage to tyres and rims which result from wear and tear; damage due to debris (if it occurred in the normal course of driving); damage resulting from extreme weather events; matters already the subject of an insurance claim; damage resulting from the actions (including criminal actions) of a third party; damage resulting in property damage from municipal assets (for example trees, machinery, etc.) unless the municipality has been found to be negligent.
G. The procedure for submitting claims is governed by the provisions of the Institution of Legal Proceedings against certain Organs of State, Act No 40 of 2002. In accordance with the Act, a claim against the municipality must be submitted: In writing, By hand, by certified mail, by e-mail or by fax, addressed to the City Manager, Setting out the facts and circumstances surrounding the claim, including the reasons why the municipality should be held liable as a result of negligence, Within six (6) months of the original date of the incident or occurrence.
Should a member of the public wish to submit a claim against the municipality, the below mentioned steps must be followed:
Step 1To obtain information regarding the submission of a claim against the municipality, contact the Insurance Section of the municipality at:
Step 2 All claims are required to be lodged to the municipality in writing (delivered by hand, or sent by certified mail, by electronic mail, by fax, or submit via the municipal customer request system) and will be considered on a “without prejudice” basis. Provide a letter and reasons why Drakenstein Municipality should be held liable, i.e. fully motivate in writing why, in your opinion, the municipality was negligent. For a claim against the municipality for loss or damage suffered from driving through a pothole, a Pothole claim form must also be completed.
Step 3To assist the municipality in assessing and investigating a claim, certain documentation and evidence to support the claim will be required. The acceptance of the written claim and supporting documentation by the municipality in no way infers negligence on the part of the municipality or binds the municipality to provide compensation. In addition to the motivation letter, the below information and any other information or documentation to support the claim, should be provided: a) full name, address and contact details of the claimant,b) date, time and location of scene of incident / accident,c) description of the circumstances and the loss / damage / injury,d) provide proof of any injury or damages in the form of medical reports or photographs, otherwise damaged items should be retained for inspection, if possible (if applicable, you will be requested to have vehicle damage assessed and/or confirmed at the municipal workshop),e) provide proof of fair and reasonable costs for repairs if repairable, or for replacement if not repairable (at least 2 quotations) or invoices, if already paid,f) if you have insurance and have elected not to claim from your own policy, you are required to provide a letter from your insurer confirming that you will not be claiming for the incident on your policy, or if you do not have insurance you are required to provide a sworn affidavit declaring that you do not have personal insurance,g) a certified copy of identity document or valid driver’s licence (if applicable), h) any other additional information that might be necessary depending on the circumstances of a claim.
Step 4 The Insurance Section will acknowledge receipt of the letter of motivation and any additional documentation, and progress of the claim will be communicated as part of the due process of the investigation.Once we receive all the required documentation the claim will be processed as follows: 1. All claims submitted are investigated, either by internal investigation, or by the municipality’s insurers, depending on the amount claimed. A full technical investigation report is completed in respect of the circumstances that led to the incident. The findings of the investigation will reveal facts surrounding the incident and serve as the basis to determine whether there has been negligence on the part of the municipality. It could take up to eight weeks to finalise an investigation depending on the complexity of the incident. If the findings show there has been such negligence, subject to specific conditions, the municipality will have to compensate those who suffered losses or damages. In the absence of evidence of negligence, regrettably no financial compensation would be paid. The reasons for not paying a claim will always be communicated in writing to a claimant.
2. Claims exceeding the excess amount to be paid by the municipality are handled by the municipality’s official insurers, while claims not exceeding this amount are submitted to the municipality’s committee responsible for considering such claims. For claims above the excess amount: the municipality’s official Insurers will correspond directly with the claimant, informing him/her whether the claim has been successful and of any further requirements or procedures in this regard. For claims below the excess amount: the municipality’s Insurance Section will correspond with the claimant, informing him/her whether the claim has been successful and of any further requirements or procedures in this regard.
Step 5 An appeal can be lodged within 21 days (of the date of notification of the decision) if a claimant is unhappy with a decision. The appeal must be in writing, marked for the attention of the person who sent the claim rejection letter. The appeal content must spell out areas of concern and reasons a claimant believes the municipality came to an unfair conclusion. The claim will be reviewed, re-investigated and the decision of the appeal communicated to the claimant.
021 872 2323
021 807 4500
Berg River Boulevard
S33 44.248 E18 58.108