Huge tree falls on home

2017-04-18 11:18
Lester Park residents Lana and Anton Verheijen spent their Saturday removing an enormous tree that fell onto their house earlier that morning. The couple and two of their neighbours said they had been asking the municipality to fell the trees just beyond their property for two years because they were afraid that the trees would fall onto their homes and hurt someone.

Lester Park residents Lana and Anton Verheijen spent their Saturday removing an enormous tree that fell onto their house earlier that morning. The couple and two of their neighbours said they had been asking the municipality to fell the trees just beyond their property for two years because they were afraid that the trees would fall onto their homes and hurt someone. (Supplied)

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A Lester Park couple were livid when a massive tree fell onto their roof and their two cars on Saturday.

The disaster allegedly followed warnings to Msunduzi Municipality for the past two years about the danger the tree posed.

Lana and Anton Verheijen said they heard a cracking sound at around 7 am and a large tree fell onto the roof of their home, cracking open the roof and damaging both their cars and the garden wall.

The Verheijens said they had been struggling to get the Msunduzi Municipality to fell the huge trees just beyond their garden wall for two years.

Anton said the trees growing on municipal land had become a problem for his family as well as two of his neighbours.

He said trees had fallen onto his property before, but this latest tree was the biggest one to fall and had caused the most damage.

His neighbour, Brian Duncan, said he’d had five trees fall on his property in the last two years on separate occasions.

He said each time one of the trees fell it broke down his garden wall, which had to be repaired repeatedly.

Verheijen said a few municipal contractors came to cut down the trees at the start of the April school holidays. But instead of felling the trees the contractors had “wedged” them and then left them for the weekend.

To wedge a tree is to remove a block of the trunk near the base in anticipation of cutting the tree down completely.

Verheijen said the tree was apparently wedged too close to the base and it had taken just a single gust of wind to push the tree over straight onto his house on Saturday.

“It is extremely frustrating. We have been complaining about this for years and when the contractors finally arrived they did not do a proper job,” said Verheijen.

Duncan said he was concerned that the next tree to fall would be one of the bigger trees that would “take my house out completely”.

He said he had spoken with the local ward councillors about the issue but nothing has happened.

Local ward councillor Glenn McArthur confirmed that he had spoken to Duncan previously about the tree issue and had referred the matter to the Msunduzi parks department.

He said he was aware the trees were a problem for the residents and had followed up with the department many times.

McArthur said there were “massive issues with people taking responsibility”.

He added that he had managed to chop down some trees in other areas but did not have the capacity to help with the large trees in Lester Park.

Msunduzi municipal spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said a written complaint should be sent to the municipality about the issue and added that the proper processes on what to do next would be followed.


Read more on:    disaster management  |  pietermaritzburg

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