Thieves target covers

2018-10-01 15:26
Pedestrians walk around a gaping manhole on Greyling Street.

Pedestrians walk around a gaping manhole on Greyling Street. (Ian Carbutt)

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Msunduzi says manhole covers are being stolen across the city to be sold on the black market.

The City said the Mountain Rise area was currently being targeted by criminals, who have been warned that this behaviour constitutes “infrastructure theft and vandalism”.

It bemoaned dealers of recycling material in the city accepting these manhole covers, despite them having Msunduzi branding.

Msunduzi spokesperson Ntobeko Ngcobo said the theft was “a direct sabotage and devaluation of the city’s infrastructure assets and further poses a safety risk to road users”.

“We are currently implementing an initiative to replace cast-iron and steel manhole covers as well as drainage grates with alternative material such as polymer concrete. The polymer concrete has no significant resale value,” she said.

Ngcobo said, as an interim measure, the City will endeavour to warn the community when manhole covers go missing. “We appeal to scrapyard owners not to purchase municipal assets from criminals and we requested the members of the public to report all acts of vandalism and theft of road infrastructure that they may witness.”

The Witness has in the past reported on several cases of missing manhole covers, with fed-up residents saying this posed a threat to public safety.

These include one at the corner of Jabu Ndlovu Street and Boshoff Street, and several on Victoria Road.

This week, a missing manhole cover was spotted on Greyling Street.

One resident said they had noticed several missing manhole covers in the centre of town.

“This is very dangerous. Just stand on a street like Boshoff Street and see how much foot traffic there is. This includes children. People are at risk of injury.”

DA caucus leader at Msunduzi Sibongiseni Majola said the City should have a meeting with recycling dealers and instruct them not to buy anything that had Msunduzi branding on it.

“It’s very bad. I’m sure about 90% of these covers have been removed, and this poses a danger to residents, especially those walking at night.”

He said replacing those covers with ones made with non-recyclable material would be a viable option going forward.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  msunduzi municipality

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