Motorist stranded for an hour after car gets stuck in manhole

2011-04-07 00:00

IT was business as usual for Alan Botha (45) from Naperville, who went to consult a client at Willowton Road, Pietermaritzburg, yesterday morning, until his vehicle’s front wheel plunged into an open manhole.

“I drove into the parking bay and there was a car in front of me, so I tried to squeeze in and obviously I didn’t realise that the manhole was uncovered. The next thing I knew was that my wheel was stuck in a hole,” he told The Witness.

Botha said he was stranded for an hour without any assistance from passersby, until finally three men who were walking down the road came to his rescue.

“These men seriously have ‘ubuntu’. They just asked me what the problem was. I got inside the vehicle, reversed it and then they lifted the vehicle out of the manhole,” he later told The Witness.

Botha said he does not know what he would have done if these good Samaritans had not shown up. He gave the men R20, the only money he had in his wallet.

Msunduzi spokesperson Brian Zuma said they are facing a serious challenge because people steal steel manhole covers and sell them to scrap yards.

“We replace the covers and people steal them over and over again. We’re still talking to a company about designing covers made out of polymer material for our roads. But meanwhile, we are in the process of covering all the open manholes with concrete covers,” Zuma added.

The Witness reported on February 16 about a man who walked into a metre-deep uncovered manhole and injured his leg in Greyling Street near Parklane Spar.

The municipality is appealing to community members to report theft and provide information on thieves so that the law can take its course.

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