Wall collapses in Panorama Gardens

2016-04-06 06:00
PHOTO: NQOBILE MTOLO The boundary wall that collapsed and hit resident’s house during a recent storm.

PHOTO: NQOBILE MTOLO The boundary wall that collapsed and hit resident’s house during a recent storm.

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PANORAMA Gardens resident Jennifer Mbambo blames the Msunduzi Municipality for the boundary wall that collapsed and hit her house during a recent storm.

Speaking to Echo Mbambo said that for years she has asked the municipality to erect storm-water drains outside her house to avoid flooding.

Mbambo’s bedroom wall can collapse anytime with cracks that can be seen from inside her bedroom. She said this is the second time her boundary wall has collapsed. The first incident happened in 2014 during a January storm which wreaked havoc in the city.

“I was at church when the storm hit Pietermaritzburg. My neighbour’s house is built on fertile soil and that is the soil that is being eroded every time there is heavy rain.

“The lack of storm-water drains on my side of the road compromises our safety because the area gets flooded. In 2014 an inspector came to my house, but said that everything was in order. What should we do now?”

Msunduzi Municipality spokesperson Nqobile Madonda said they will investigate the matter.

“Storm-water drainage is based on the water collected on the road which dictates the size of the pipes and collection points required. At a glance, this wall looks like it was not properly designed. Otherwise, the owner can forward [the] Roads and Transportation [department] with a proof of design and approval plans of the wall.

“In these types of walls where there is filling behind the design of the wall, they must be properly founded and the wall must have weep holes just below the quarter line mark of the wall height to avoid collection of water behind the wall.

“This causes wetting of the material behind the wall and this causes it to be unstable and can push the wall forward or cause the wall to tip over, like in this case,” explained Madonda.

She said that such walls need be certified by an engineer.

“If there is a sign of water collecting, a proper drainage system may be necessary to divert the water quickly behind the wall before any damage can occur.

“Therefore a proper wall design is necessary in a wall that functions like a dam wall.

“People just get their own bricklayers to construct these walls without advice from professionals or even use reputable contractors who would also advise the property owner on the type of structure required.”

From what they have gathered, Madonda said, the wall was inappropriately constructed with foundations way above the natural ground of the lower lying neighbour and that drainage was not a factor.

“In these sort of urgent occurrences our unit requires a stability report from the owner and if it is found that the retaining wall was not built in accordance­ to the approved plan then an urgent building plan should accompany­ the stability report with supporting engineer’s details as well as certification which is form two of South African National Standards forms,” said Madonda­.

This is the second time her boundary wall has

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