Residents angry over cable company trenches

2014-11-27 00:00

MSUNDUZI residents are getting ready for a trench war.

Downtown residents and business owners who have been subject to more than three months of digging from different cable companies are now saying: “Enough, no more”.

They want the municipality to act decisively in getting these companies to work efficiently and with better safety measures. They are fed up with the debris lying around for days and want their pavement slabs replaced as soon as possible.

The residents have complained that piles of rubble have been left standing, blocking the entrances to flats and shops. Pedestrians have had accidents and the current heavy rains have left their area in a muddy mess.

Over the past weekend, the situation was so dire that businesses had to get together and remove the rubble. They said the company had been digging in the area, left the piles of broken pavement slabs and just went off for the weekend.

Retief Street business owners, who have formed their own committee to clean up their area, met this week with municipal officials to find a solution and a way forward.

Municipal officials have since examined the area and said they understand the public­ ­outcry. An official was heard exclaiming that luckily they were not the culprits.

The officials yesterday established who the guilty party is and will be pursuing the matter. They did not want to name them at this stage because they had not yet been in contact with the company.

It is believed that municipal officials are just as fed up as residents and shop owners. One road apparently had brand-new tar that had been laid out ripped out.

An official, who did not want to be named, said these were the consequences of the court case where under the Communications Act, cable companies did not have to seek ­permission to enter a municipality and dig trenches to lay fibre optic cables.

“The chickens are coming home to roost and these companies are carrying on as if they are a law unto themselves,” he said.

Municipal spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said there had been meetings with the companies to ensure the safety of residents and for the companies to work in a more ­orderly manner. She said this engagement was ongoing.

The downtown businesses vowed to keep up the pressure on the municipality until the matter is resolved.

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