Ashdown man vs municipality over cracks

2015-11-19 06:00
PHOTOS: NOKULUNGA NGOBESE A neighbour points at a huge crack on Ndlela's house.

PHOTOS: NOKULUNGA NGOBESE A neighbour points at a huge crack on Ndlela's house.

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AN Ashdown man wants the municipality to reimburse him for damages caused to his house after a sewerage pipe project and a leak from the municipal reservoir pipe resulted in his house sustaining cracks all over.

Sihle Ndlela, who has since filed for legal action against the municipality, bought his four-roomed house in Ashdown’s Magaba area in 2006, but only started experiencing problems in 2013 after a sewerage pipe project had to run through his property. While he owes the bank for inancing the property, he is now faced with paying double as he is currently renting a house in Westgate after being told by a building inspector that it is no longer safe to live in the house.

“I bought the house in 2006 and started renovating it in 2007. I lived there without any problems, until 2013 when there was sewerage pipe project and a road upgrade project in the area. I started noticing that there were cracks all over and I could no longer open doors properly. I then contacted the ward councillor Dumisani Phungula and a letter was written to the municipality. The contractor responsible for the sewerage project was also informed, but according to their findings the cracks are not linked to the project. An assessor from the municipality was sent to the house and they returned with feedback that the cracks were caused by unknown water flooding just up the road.

“The claims department said I would not be compensated since it was not their responsibility, but instead advised me to build a retaining wall so that water would flood in there.”

Ndlela said he then decided to investigate for himself and established that a municipal reservoir pipe was leaking. “I reported the matter to the municipality in January last year, and the problem was only attended in July when a geo-technician established that it was a burst sewerage pipe.

“The geo-technician then dug a trench to prevent further cracks, but the cracking did not stop,” said Ndlela.

He said after being told by a building inspector to move out of the house as it was no longer safe in August last year, the municipality promised to find him temporary accommodation.

However, months went by and he then decided to move out in February. Despite several meetings with officials, his case remains unsolved so he has now instructed his lawyers to issue the municipality with a letter of demand.

Municipal spokesperson Nqobile Madonda said the matter is currently council consideration, and Ndlela is being kept abreast of all the developments regarding the matter.

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