City’s manhole cover woes continue

2013-06-10 00:00

MORE than 10 days after falling down a manhole and injuring his leg, Leslie Soobrayan of Raisethorpe has to still sit with his heavily bandaged leg elevated.

It was not as if Soobrayan was jaywalking and fell into an open manhole. In his case he was making his way carefully home after visiting the Khan Road clinic. He stepped onto the closed lid of a manhole and before he knew it, the lid flipped over, his leg went in and the concrete cover landed over his leg, pinning him in.

For Soobrayan what was shocking was that the cover appeared new, so it must have been recently placed there. He said reflecting on the accident he now realises that the slab was just placed to cover the manhole and had not been properly fitted — there was no rim to make it stable.

He raised the problem with ward councillor Jay Singh, who went around examining the manholes in the area and found many with their lids half on and, shockingly, square manholes with round covers. Singh said that he has reported all of this to the officials.

Soobrayan, who can barely get around, has a lot of time to ponder and he wants the municipality to learn from his incident. He says a number of people have told him that there were people fixing the manholes in the area.

“Clearly they have not done a good job and what I want to know is why there was no one checking on the workmanship. In the case of the manhole that I fell into, the edge had crumbled away and it was just precariously resting on the top. This is not good enough, the base should have been reconstructed,” he said.

Singh as ward councillor has taken on the challenge and has been going around in search of wobbly covers, half-fitted covers and square holes fitted with round lids. He is sending photographs to the officials alerting them to the problem manholes.

LAST weekend’s windy conditions saw a number of electricity poles blown over and some pretty irate residents because, like the storm in January, the problem was quite widespread so it took the electricity department some time to get around to fixing all the faults. They concentrated on areas where whole streets were without electricity before tackling individual households.

Sajin Singh, who was concerned about safety issues caused by what he described as “the leaning pole of Raisethorpe”, expressed his gratitude when the department got round to fixing the pole.

Shirley Kuhn of Prestbury was beside herself as her son’s engagement was due to take place over the weekend. She was expecting visitors, arriving in their numbers from Johannesburg, and hers was the only house in the street without electricity because a single pole had blown over.

Alerted to her predicament, the Msunduzi electricity department managed to restore her power before her visitors arrived. Kuhn said a lot of planning had gone into the engagement party and she knew that there was a white horse involved and a knight in shining armour. Not having electricity to cook and feed her guests would have been a major embarrassment. She said thank you to the municipality for coming to her rescue.

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