City drains an issue

2017-02-27 10:51
Grass growing out of the pavement on Chief Albert Luthuli Road.

Grass growing out of the pavement on Chief Albert Luthuli Road. (File)

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With the resurrection of Witness Warriors this week, let us start with the good story of dedicated municipal staff who worked fervently in the heat to cover up a trench in Sanctuary Road recently. 

The trench was excavated across Sanctuary Road in January and filled with soil afterwards. But with the heavens opening recently, the trench became dangerous and the soil washed away. 

Reader Logan Govender said with the help of councillor Melika Singh bringing the issue to the municipality’s attention, workers took to fixing the trench last week. 

In the blistering Pietermaritzburg heat, workmen and women worked hard to restore the roadway to its normal state. 

Govender sent his heartfelt thanks and appreciation to the workers who ensured the road was safe to use again. He also thanked councillor Singh and Mark Plaatjies from the Msunduzi roads department. 

Another message of gratitude to a councillor was sent in by Gerald Naidoo, who thanked Renesha Jugmohan for her tireless efforts toward the community. 

Naidoo said the councillor responded to a call at around 11 pm on Saturday night when an electricity pole was struck by lightning. 

Although it was a false alarm as there was no electricity in the Darjeeling Heights area at the time, Naidoo said Jugmohan left her family in the middle of the night to go out and comfort residents who were concerned about the pole. 

“Thank you Councillor Jugmohan for putting your residents first at all hours of the day or night,” wrote Naidoo. 

And now for the not so good news … Are our roadside drains and gutters properly and regularly cleaned? 

Judging by some disappointing messages that filtered into the Witness Warriors e-mail, it seems we may be flooded if drains are not attended to soon. 
Wembley resident and Witness letter writer Lester Day wrote in complaining about the poor drainage system in the city. 

He said following the heavy rains in the week, residents could clearly see which drains were blocked as water flooded the city’s roads.
This flooding damages the road surfaces and “is a recipe for disaster”.

Watching the continuous rainfall, Day said he hoped the water was channelled to the dams. 
He found a funny similarity between that and the country’s taxes. 

Day said the taxes were pouring into the state’s coffers and “there is enough to run the country but if there are plenty of leaks (stealing) then the money doesn’t get to the people and projects it was intended for”.

Around this time last year when freak storms hit the city, residents and ward councillors criticised the municipality, saying the damage could have been less severe if our drains were cleaned out regularly.

 Although the City cannot be held liable for natural disasters, properly cleaned drains could prevent flooding. 

At that time, the City managers promised that storm water drain ­cleaning was done as part of the ­maintenance plan and programme that the drainage section has, but no response to our query about this was received this time around. 

Another problem with blocked drains left guests at an evening function ankle deep in dirty water trying to manoeuvre their way to their vehicles. 

Hayfields resident Segren Pillay said he was at a function at Truro Hall but the beautiful event was marred by the piles of rubbish, rubble, broken alcohol bottles, used condoms and couples using the parking lot as a lovers’ rendezvous.

 Pillay described the Truro Centre’s parking as “an absolute shame and disgrace”, questioning why Msunduzi would call Pietermaritzburg the City of Choice. 

“We arrived to a flooded car and car park as all the drains and gutters were blocked up with rubbish,” Pillay said. 

He appealed to councillors and the municipality to tackle the issues of this important, historic and well-used community hall car park. 

Blocked drains are not the only roadside qualms residents have. 

Frequent letter writer JJ Pillay said Church Street near Ballim’s Pharmacy is “a disgrace”. 

He called on the municipality’s buildings authority to prioritise the upgrades of pavements in the city centre. 

Msunduzi was approached for comment on the issues raised in this week’s Witness Warriors but no responses were received to these. 

Umgeni to shut down waterworks this week

Umgeni Water has planned a shutdown of the Midmar and DV Harris waterworks this week. 

The  Midmar waterworks supplies water to Prestbury, upper portions of the CBD, Oribi, Edendale, Ashdown, Willowfountain and Ashburton. Brenden Sivparsad, the senior manager for water and sanitation at Msunduzi municipality, said the shutdown, due to start at 8 am on Tuesday, will allow Umgeni Water to conduct essential work to enhance the assurance of water supply in future. He stressed that this does not necessarily mean the areas above will be left without water over the 24-hour period. 

“The Msunduzi Municipality in conjunction with Umgeni Water will make every effort and implement all practical measures to ensure that our core reservoirs are filled and stable to ensure minimal disruption to our residents of this period,” he said. 

Sivparsad said Umgeni Water’s shutdown is anticipated to be completed with the system fully recovered by Wednesday, pending any unforeseen circumstances.

He apologised for any inconvenience or lack of supply and added that residents can rest assured that this is “only consented to in order to improve our future assurance of supply.”

Richmond, Mkhambathini, uMngeni and uMshwathi municipalities will be also be affected. The shutdown starts at 8 am tomorrow and water supply is expected to be operational as normal by the afternoon of Wednesday, March 1. 

The uMgungundlovu Municipality has assured that residents will have water during the shutdown as reservoirs have adequate water stored.

But the municipality is still appealing to residents to use water sparingly during the shutdown.

It also advised that residents, businesses, factories, schools, clinics and all other consumers store water in vessels for any emergency situations.

For more information, you can contact uMgungundlovu Municipality on its 24-hour call centre on 080 086 4911

• Please send in your good municipal news stories or complaints by e-mail to warriors@witness.co.za

Read more on:    msunduzi municipality  |  pietermaritzburg  |  witness warrior

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