Lift company assures action

2014-03-11 00:00

A DURBAN-BASED lift company that has been under fire for poor response time when reacting to emergencies in Pietermaritzburg, says come April, the problem will be over.

This follows a story in The Witness last week, about nine people were stuck in a lift at Fedsure House for almost two hours.

The delay in rescuing them was because Kone Elevators South Africa has no technicians operating in Pietermaritzburg and people had to wait for a technician to drive up from Durban to unlock the lift.

Among those who were stuck were employees of KwaZulu-Natal Public Works and Mason Incorporated.

Public Works spokesperson Mbulelo was appalled at the turnaround time and said the department would investigate.

That incident caught the attention of the Midlands Private Hospital manager, Michael Wright, who experienced a similar incident at his hospital.

“We too have recently had problems with Kone Elevators. On January 30 we had a breakdown, with nine people trapped inside, and it took Kone 80 minutes to arrive on site,” said Wright.

“Why so long?”

Wright said it was because they have no technicians based in Pietermaritzburg.

“I met with Kone’s regional director for KZN on February 4, and he promised me that he would have a technician based locally from April 1,” he said.

He said they then had another lift breakdown, on Saturday morning (March 1).

“A technician arrived, but didn’t have the necessary spares. Despite being a hospital, we had to wait until the afternoon of Tuesday, March 4, before the lift was eventually fixed,” said Wright.

He said this lift was a stretcher lift, and served their theatres, Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and surgical wards, “so you can imagine the difficulties we experienced”.

“During these three days, despite my many e-mails to Kone’s regional director, he didn’t bother to phone me and update me,” said Wright.

Responding to the question on his cellphone, Kone Elevators South Africa regional director Danny Metune said when they started operations in Pietermaritzburg they had few clients “so it was not financially viable for us to have a technician based there”.

Metune said they have appointed a technician who will be starting in Pietermaritzburg by April 1.

“We now have hospitals that need our urgent attention and business has grown in the city so we needed to urgently appoint someone,” he said.

He said the technician is someone who lives in Pietermaritzburg and knows the city very well.

Metune said he understood the frustration of the people who had been inconvenienced by Kone not having a technician based in the city.

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