No sign of urgency: unmarked roadworks claim second life
Death of biker on Joburg road 'a result of gross negligence by the local municipality and contractors'
When Collin Frankenberg’s son TC greeted him on December 15 after a visit, it would be the last conversation the two would have. TC Frankenberg, 33, died on December 26 after fighting for his life for 12 days in intensive care.
He is one of the two people who have died following accidents on Isando Road in Isando, east of Johannesburg.
According to ward councillor Simon Lapping, on August 22 2018 another person died in an accident on the same road where roadworks were under way following a burst water pipe.
According to attorney Dylan Wilson, representing the Frankenberg family, TC’s motorbike accident was a result of gross negligence by the local municipality and contractors who were doing work on the road and left a large mound of sand across Isando Road.
“There was little to no markings warning of the danger ahead and the street lights were not working either, making the roadworks near impossible to see until the last minute,” Wilson said.
He said they are considering taking legal action against anyone found liable for TC's death.
Lapping added that the lack of visible signs that would alert road users of the work under way, was endangering lives.
“Ever since roadworks began on this road, I’ve been at loggerheads with officials in the city to try and make sure that proper demarcation and deviation signs on this road are put up.”
He claimed only small signs would be put up, and they were easily blown down by the wind.
However, Ekurhuleni metro spokesperson Themba Gadebe told Times Select the city faces a serious problem with deviation signs being stolen, while it has had discussions with contractors to always ensure the safety of road users.
Lapping said work on the road was initially scheduled for completion by mid-November.
Gadebe refused to be drawn into details about the delays in finishing repairs on the road. He responded by saying work is currently completed.
On December 18, Times Select visited the scene of the accident. Motorists were visibly confused as they had to divert suddenly without any signs alerting them to the deviation in the road. A security guard at one of the nearby companies, Michael Masango, said that since the roadworks started he has witnessed several accidents, especially at night as the streetlights are not working, making it difficult for motorists to see what is happening.
“It’s usually minor accidents when motorists crash into the sand because they didn’t see that the road is closed on this part and they have to use the other side to pass,” Masango said.
One sign was blown away by the wind, and car parts from other accidents lay strewn about.
“This is the problem I have. The wind always blows these small signs. I have asked that they put up something big and permanent that would alert people of the roadworks,” Lapping said.
Frankenberg leaves his wife and one-year-old daughter.
“He was devoted to his family and friends and would always make time for everyone. He shared a very close relationship with both his parents and his sister. TC would always stand out wherever he was and was dearly loved by all those who came into contact with him," Wilson said.
His wife Charmaine said he was loving, caring and gentle.
“He was an amazing father and my favourite thing was to watch him and our daughter giggling together. He had a dry sense of humour but his laughter would come from his belly and it was so contagious. We were looking forward to expanding our family and growing TC’s bike club that he had started up.”
His mom Jenette and sister Storm are equally devastated. “He was our protector and our gentle giant. He would always make time for us and always made sure we are okay. He is leaving a hole that will never be filled.”
Storm said her brother was her “partner in crime” and best friend, and she always knew she was safe with him. “He always told me that ice cream would always make things better.”
His father Collin said: “He was my boy, and my best friend ... we have been through so much together and life will never be the same again. I don’t have the words to express the pain and loss this brings to the whole family and all his friends.”
His wife said TC was looking at taking over the family business where he was working with his uncle.
“He was a hard worker and made sure his family were looked after,” Charmaine said. His funeral will take place on Friday at the Alberton Methodist Church.
Gadebe said police investigations will determine the cause of the accident, but added that a video clip shows there was a speeding vehicle.