Pensioners left in the lurch after power surge

Pensioners in Northdale had their electrical fixtures explode during a power surge.
Pensioners in Northdale had their electrical fixtures explode during a power surge.
Kerushun Pillay

FIVE households on Dresda Road in Northdale had all their appliances blown out by an apparent electrical surge last Tuesday.

Now the residents — all of whom are pensioners — say they will have to wait as long as six months for the Msunduzi Municipality to say whether the City will foot the bill for the damage. 

Residents claim workers at the City’s insurance division told them they needed to replace the appliances out of their own pockets, then furnish the City with receipts. Then the City would let the residents know whether they are eligible for a refund “after an investigation”.
Lalitha Thaver (63) said she lost a fridge, a deep freeze, a TV and a set of home monitoring cameras in the surge.
“Municipal workers were changing some cables that supply our homes and a worker told us they put in the wrong cable which would conduct double the voltage.
“All our appliances blew out. Light bulbs were exploding and plugs caught alight. We were running from house to house trying to help each other. Imagine if we weren’t at home at the time,” she said.
Thaver said residents had to hire private electricians to restore the power as the City was not attending to their complaint timeously.
“How are we supposed to replace all our appliances. Where do we get R5 000 to buy a fridge?”

A business on Chota Motala (Old Greytown) Road has to endure a spewing sewer every time it rains. The manager of Autoquip Motor Spares and Accessories, Brandon Singh, said: “Even in the slightest drizzle it overflows, so this week with the heavy rains it was quite a problem. We assume it is because the pipe is blocked somewhere.”
He said the driveway becomes strewn with faeces, condoms and sanitary pads.
“It’s also costly to clean and to buy disinfectants. We’ve spent most days this week cleaning outside. It’s a health hazard and it drives our customers away — who would want to come here with the smell?”

A shop owner at 405 Berg Street said Msunduzi workers dug up the pavement outside the shop and have left it unsealed for about a year-and-a-half.
He said grass has began growing on the debris City workers used to cover the site.

Residents have complained that water has gushed from a leak at the corner of Dolphin Avenue and Deccan Road in Northdale for months. They have logged complaints, but they have yet to be attended to.
Msunduzi did not respond to queries on any of the above matters.  
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