Huge hole

2019-05-08 15:13
A huge dam caused by a burst pipe on the corner of Andries Pretorius and Richie roads. PHOTO: IAN CARBUTT

A huge dam caused by a burst pipe on the corner of Andries Pretorius and Richie roads. PHOTO: IAN CARBUTT

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Pelham residents fear a person or car could accidentally end up in a large hole that was left by municipal workers on the corner of Andries Pretorius and Richie roads last month.

One resident said she contacted Msunduzi’s call centre about two months ago to report a burst pipe and was told they were aware of the problem and would attend to it.

“About two weeks later municipal employees cordoned off the section. They then came and dug up the road. This has resulted in a pool of water collecting from the middle of the road to one side. The pool is overflowing and water is running down Richie Road,” she said.

The hole is more than two metres wide and about five metres long. It looks to be more than a metre deep and was overflowing with clear water when The Witness visited the site on Tuesday.

Shelly Miller, who lives a stone’s throw away from the hole, said for more than three weeks she had been repeatedly calling the municipality begging them to send someone to fix the leak and fill up the hole.

She said her worst fear was that someone would end up driving into it.

“There’s already been two accidents there and luckily they didn’t end up in the hole but one of the cars nearly did. The driver hit the pile of tar and soil that was left [by municipal workers] next to it,” she said.

Another resident said the City was inviting litigation by not fixing the hole as drivers could sue if their cars were damaged. “The material to cordon off the area has fallen off so it’s difficult to see it when it’s dark. It’s very dangerous and if your car falls in there it will probably be written off,” she said.

She was also worried that children who walk on both Richie and Andries Pretorius roads from neighbouring schools could be tempted to play in the water which would put them at risk of drowning.

The residents were also concerned about the thousands of litres of drinking water that was being wasted by not fixing the problem timeously.

Miller said the public was always being told that South Africa was a water scarce country and that KwaZulu-Natal was still facing the drought but Msunduzi did not seem to care about saving water.

“I was complaining about this the other day and my domestic worker told me to take a drive through one of the local townships and try to count the leaks there. “She said it was obvious that most of the pipes needed to be replaced but nothing was being done about it because the leaks remained unfixed for months on end.”

Ward councillor Vic Winterbach said his attempts to get the municipality to attend to the site proved futile. He said even the initial response to the burst main pipe took weeks.

“It’s so disconcerting when nothing gets done on the ground and no one is held accountable for anything. The residents are frustrated and they come to us as ward councillors for answers but we are also not getting them from the municipality.”

Winterbach said water losses were one of the issues highlighted in the recent auditor-general’s report but there seem to be no plan to address the problem. During the 2017/18 year, the City reportedly lost 29% of its water — which amounted to R138,7 million — as a result of aging infrastructure.

Msunduzi had not responded to The Witness’ query at the time of publication.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  msunduzi municipality

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