A tragic death has put the spotlight on Johannesburg’s crumbling roads. According to the South African Jewish Report, the city’s infrastructure has come under scrutiny after Dr Simmy Waner, a 71-year-old pathologist, was tragically knocked down and killed by a truck while trying to warn other motorists of a pothole. The accident occurred while Waner placed an orange cone on the road to highlight the danger. Waner had intended to buy his daughters a freezochino to celebrate Israel’s independence day. Instead, he had hit the pothole, parked the car and asked workers across the road for an orange cone to mark the hazard before a truck fatally struck him. Waner was known for his caring nature and commitment to helping others, and he died performing a kind act. His death has highlighted the deteriorating state of the city’s infrastructure and the threat it poses to public safety.
City councillor Daniel Schay said motorists had reported the hazardous condition of the roads multiple times. Still, Johannesburg Water and the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) had failed to reinstate excavated roadways timeously. Schay called for an investigation into the circumstances of the tragedy and the inadequate repairs that contributed to it. Angry residents have been painting “ANC” around potholes to highlight the danger, which is against the city’s bylaws and could lead to prosecution.
Discovery Insure and Dialdirect Insurance formed the Pothole Patrol two years ago in partnership with the JRA and the City of Johannesburg to address the problem. The initiative has filled over 150,000 potholes, but CEO of Discovery Insure, Anton Ossip, acknowledged that the issue was widespread and a great deal still needs to be done. Experts have also expressed concern over the condition of the roads. Unfortunately, for Waner, it’s too late. In a moving letter to the family, a friend wrote that he was a hero and an angel who wanted to prevent an accident.