Trees: Felling now a priority to stave off claims

2012-10-15 00:00

IMMINENT liability claims in relation to damage to private property has forced Msunduzi Municipality to give tree felling in the city urgent attention.

Tree felling has taken a back seat because of funds in the municipality.

Municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi said there was a tree-felling programme in place and that the central business district (CBD) was a priority area.

In October last year, two city residents narrowly escaped death within a week of each other when the branches of jacaranda trees fell on their moving vehicles. In the first incident, which happened in Boom Street, a child sitting in a car almost became a victim of the falling branch. The second incident took place in West Street, leaving a tow truck driver shaken up but uninjured.

Sergie Naidu, Msunduzi manager for horticulture, made a plea for more tree-felling resources.

He said previously, the city had a team of seven including a supervisor. However, since the city’s boundaries have extended, they only have a team of five, including the supervisor.

Naidu said: “The cherry picker” (Hydraulic bucket) truck was 19 years old and spends a great deal of time in the workshop undergoing repairs. He added that there was currently a backlog of 47 outstanding requests for tree removals.

The Parks Department was given the go-ahead to hire a bucket truck. Mayor Chris Ndlela warned that there should be more co-ordination in the work being done.

He had received complaints from residents that trees were cut down, but the branches were not removed at the same time.

Similarly, the electricity department should be on standby so they can lower the lines and then put them back up immediately after the trees are cut, he said.

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