Tongaat and Verulam’s street light saga continues

2016-05-12 06:00

FRUSTRATED residents of Tongaat and Verulam are living on streets forced into darkness by faulty street lights and have said that none of their lodged complaints have been attended by eThekwini Municipality.

Kay Kalideen, a resident of Burbreeze in the Tongaat area, said she filed her first complaint on 22 July 2015 and since no repairs were done, she had to file a number of others getting a new reference number from eThekwini each time.

“I have counted 31 faulty lights lining the R102 between the Fairbreeze Hotel and the end of the suburb and now a year later, nothing has been done to fix them,” said Kalideen, who added that she was given a new reference number on 1 March when she lodged her last complaint.

Another frustrated resident in Verulam known as ‘Bucks’, said lights have been out for more than a month on Ireland and Trout streets, despite calling to let the municipality know.

“I was given a reference number and no one has come to replace the lights.

“We, as residents, are frustrated because street lights also provide security to residential areas situated on main roads,” said Bucks.

Roy Wienand, head of electricity at eThekwini Municipality said cable theft is “endemic” in the Durban and North Coast areas and that this is one of the reasons for the faulty lights in different areas.

“Last year eThekwini was forced to operate at around 50% capacity after a contracts dispute with an unsuccessful contractor who took the matter to the High Court and stalled the municipality’s choice of 12 successful contractors from attending electrical faults for a number of months,” said Wienand.

Wienand said the legal dispute created a four-week backlog of roughly 6000 complaints the municipality is only now beginning to address.

“The heavy rain over the weekend also did considerable damage to municipal infrastructure, which now requires emergency repair.

“This, of course, pushes issues with faulty street lights behind other more urgent concerns,” he added.

Wienand went on to say that he encourages residents to phone the municipality and file a complaint, which he said, the municipality will attend to.

“The rain damage this weekend set us back another two weeks and I apologise on behalf of the municipality for delays as a result of contractual and weather issues.

“As ratepayers, people have every right to phone the municipality and address their concerns, and we at eThekwini are committed to the improvement of service delivery,” said Wienand.

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