Woman injured after falling into an open manhole to lay claim against City

2019-05-13 15:00
Yvonne Nyamangara who was injured and left walking on crutches after she fell into an open manhole at the corner Prince Alfred Street and Strapp streets.PHOTO: ian carbutt

Yvonne Nyamangara who was injured and left walking on crutches after she fell into an open manhole at the corner Prince Alfred Street and Strapp streets.PHOTO: ian carbutt

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A 29-year-old Pietermaritzburg woman is weighing her legal options after she was injured and walking on crutches when she fell into an open manhole.

Yvonne Nyamangara, who lives on Prince Alfred Street, had to cancel a supplementary examination on Friday as she cannot walk properly and is in “excruciating pain”.

She told The Witness that her frustration was also compounded by the fact that residents in the area had reported the open manhole to the municipality numerous times.

Nyamangara said when she reported the matter again after being injured, she got through to the switchboard, but was told that she would have to visit the municipality’s legal department to institute a claim.

She said that she was walking to the shop with her husband at around 8 pm when she accidentally stepped into the big hole.

“I got the shock of my life as I was confused as to what was happening,”

“It was very dark and there are no street lights here, so I walked right into the hole without seeing it,” Nyamangara said.

When The Witness visited the area on Friday, the manhole was still open, with rusted reinforcement metal bars sticking out.

“I am in a lot of pain from my back, chest, and my badly injured left leg. For a long time, this manhole has been uncovered and requests for the municipality to do something have fallen on deaf ears.”

Nyamangara said it took about 25 minutes for her to be pulled out from the manhole.

“I couldn’t move. One leg was inside and the other one outside. My husband tried to lift me up, but he couldn’t. He had to ask people who were passing by to drag me out. Even then, I was screaming because I was in pain.”

She said that she was not going to leave the situation unchallenged and would be seeing a lawyer to lay a damages claim against the municipality.

“I can’t even move in my house or even go to the toilet without assistance.

“There’s a school here. If it was a child, it was going to be another story. They are supposed to put a sign up or cordon off the area because it is dangerous.”

Msunduzi spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha apologised for the incident, saying that it was not good for a resident to be injured in such a manner.

Mafumbatha said the theft of manhole covers was a challenge that the municipality faced and that they were currently looking at alternative materials to replace the cast iron covers (which have a scrap metal value for thieves) and had already started making concrete covers for manholes.

“The aim is to look for a lasting solution to the problem,” Mafumbatha said.

In the meantime, she urged pedestrians to be careful when walking.

Mafumbatha said that Nyamangara can lay a claim against the municipality. She would need to send a detailed report on the incident to the City’s legal department, who will look into the matter.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  msunduzi municipality

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