Cable-laying affects business owners

2015-05-13 06:00
PHOTO: Ian Carbutt 
The laying of cables in Langalibalele Street has irked business owners who say the three-month project is hurting their trade.

PHOTO: Ian Carbutt The laying of cables in Langalibalele Street has irked business owners who say the three-month project is hurting their trade.

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BUSINESS people in the PMB CBD are angry over the seemingly endless digging of trenches on city streets.

The laying of electricity cables started on the busy Retief Street, which is where businesses have been most affected.

The digging and the laying of the cables started about three months ago on Retief Street, up Jabu Ndlovu Street and has gone as far as the Pietermaritzburg (Loop Street) police station. In most cases, the trenches have been left open.

Acting municipal spokesperson Nqobile Madonda said the digging around the city is part of an electricity project.

“The municipality is installing a 132 KV electricity city grid and this should be completed by the end of June.”

She said this was necessary to upgrade the central city network.

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused regarding limited or restricted movement around the city, but this is to improve and provide better services by council.”

Business owners say there is no parking for their customers and even pedestrians have difficulty walking safely.

Business owners who spoke to The Witness declined to be named.

“They [contractors] have been digging for the past three months and they left it like this.

“We have no idea when they are coming back to close these trenches,” said a pharmacy manager.

He said the trenches were affecting his business.

“The number of people coming here has dropped significantly. Customers who drive cannot park here because of the traffic and there is no available parking.

“I have customers who use walkers, they cannot get past these trenches,” he said.

“At one point, I had to call them [contractors] to make a way so that my delivery vehicle could exit the driveway.

“We could not even get out of the driveway to deliver medicine to our customers,” he said.

Another businessman who runs a supermarket said the situation was frustrating.

“As you can see we have to use a ramp to try to get our goods inside the store. They [contractors] had released a schedule to say when they will be done.

“I am not sure whether they have missed that schedule or if they are still on track.”

Another source who delivers goods in the area said they were being fined thousands of rand for parking there illegally.

“If you park here [next to the trenches] you are given a R1 000 fine and if you park in someone else’s parking you are fined.”

The Msunduzi Municipality was approached for comment but did not respond at the time of going to press

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