PMB a city of darkness

2018-06-18 17:53

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Broken streetlights have plunged many areas of the city into darkness, which residents fear is contributing to escalating crime levels.

The worst affected areas include roads in Northdale, Raisethorpe, Epworth, Chase Valley, Old Howick Road, Oribi, Copesville, Chasedene, Wembley, Athlone, the city centre, Blackridge, Bellevue, Cleland, Acacia Park, Allandale, Woodlands, Sweetwaters, Blackridge, Panorama Gardens, Scottsville, Lynnfield Park, Pelham, Eastwood, Hilton, the Chota Motala highway interchange and large areas of Edendale.

An Oribi resident, Henriette von Nielen, said she has made numerous pleas to the Msunduzi Municipality asking them to fix the streetlights along her road.

“In our street alone we have five streetlights that haven’t been working since last year, but I am told that all the streets lights in our road aren’t working now. I reported them a while ago and when I called to follow up the matter I was told to wait five months before reporting them again,” she said.

Von Nielen said Oribi was already a dangerous neighbourhood and that the streetlights not working only escalated the crime levels.

“It’s pitch black here at night. On Sunday one of our neighbour’s houses was broken into. On that same night we heard gunshots and the next morning we found bullet cartridges on the road.

“Usually when we hear dogs barking we can easily just peek through the window to make sure no one is in our yard or our neighbours’, but with the streetlights not working we can’t see anything and going outside is just too dangerous,” she said.

Von Nielen pleaded with the municipality to fix all streetlights that are not working in the city.

Many other residents said they too were plunged into darkness and feared stopping on their driveways at night or in the early hours of the morning.

Commenting on The Witness Face­book page, Kim Santoro said: “We have no streetlights working in Warwick Road, they have not worked for months. Efforts to get anything done by the municipality have been fruitless.”

Pat Wilkinson described Old Howick Road, just before Hilton, as a death trap, adding: “One person has died trying to negotiate the bend in the darkness. The mist doesn’t help either.”

Farouk Ally said a sub-contractor was in Epworth 10 days ago to fix the streetlights that have been out for months.

“The problem is that he [the sub-contractor] left the lights on all day and night. Maybe he wishes to return and replace all those globes later as they will soon burn out,” he added.

Sumaya Dwarika said: “Street lights in Copesville never work. Copesville Drive and Triumph Road are always in darkness and that’s where all the electricity theft occurs. Recently we had all the light poles blow up because of electricity theft.”

Michele Jacobs added that when she reported her streetlights were not working to the municipality she was told it would take up to six weeks for someone to check it.

“It’s been off much longer, and on Sunday morning a neighbour had a break-in.”

Kate Brazier from Chasedene said Finch Road was in complete darkness. “I tried to phone to report the lights but the [municipal call centre] phones just ring and they don’t care.”

Gerard Hadden, who lives in Pope Ellis Drive, said he feared that “someone might get run over, especially those walking home after working late nights at the bottle store.”

Msunduzi municipal spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha did not
respond to the media query sent to her despite saying she would respond.


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