Storm ruins homes

The storm on Friday also caused an electricity pole to fall over in Northdale.
The storm on Friday also caused an electricity pole to fall over in Northdale.

Imbali resident Nonzima Benede blames the Msunduzi Municipality for the boundary wall that collapsed during a storm on Friday.

Speaking to The Witness, Benede said that for years residents in the area have been asking the municipality to create stormwater drains outside to avoid flooding.

Benede and other residents with properties along Dambuza Road said they were faced with extensive water damage every time it rained as their homes are often flooded.

“We were at home when the storm hit Pietermaritzburg. Our homes are built on fertile soil and that is the soil that is being eroded every time there is heavy rain. The lack of stormwater drains on our side of the road compromises our safety because the area gets flooded. We have been reporting this to the municipality for years and nothing gets done,” said a frustrated Benede.

“We pay rates religiously but the service we get from the municipality is appalling. We have written letters, but nothing is being done. Even when you call the municipality’s call centre you get no joy. This street doesn’t have a single stormwater drainage.”

Msunduzi Municipality did not respond to a media query sent by The Witness on Sunday.

Ward councillor Xolani Ngongoma, who visited the area to access the damage on Saturday, said he had also reported the issue countless times to the municipality. “If the employees from the drainage unit did their job this would have been avoided,” he said.

“They get paid every month to sleep under trees instead of working. There are no ramifications because even supervisors are not held accountable.”

Meanwhile, the storm caused damaged in other parts of the city as well.

A motorist who braved the storm said: “It was very scary. CB Downes was under water. I was coming from Alex police station and got caught in it. I couldn’t see any damage, but I was concentrating on trying to stay on the road and not get washed away.”

Commenting on The Witness Facebook page, Keshnee Pillay from Bellevue, next to Cleland, said: “My roof tiles were partially blown out and water started to come through my pine ceilings.

“My DStv satellite dish was damaged. Rainwater and debris flowed into my sparkling pool. Not forgetting a massive tree branch damaged the electricity cables and we had no power too.”

Large parts of the city were left without electricity after the storm.

The outages affected Cleland, parts of Edendale, Hilton, Winterskloof, Sweetwaters and Chase Valley.

One resident in Ashburton said she recorded around 23 mm of rain.

Fault at Retief substation

Meanwhile, parts of Pietermaritzburg, as well as Hilton, were left without electricity for most of the day on Sunday following an apparent fault at the Retief substation.

There were also reports of a transformer blowing up in Highfield Road.

The municipality did not respond to a media query sent by The Witness.

Posts circulated on WhatsApp suggested that Sweetwaters, Mt Michael, Northdale, Mountain Rise, Montrose, Imbali phase 4 and 13, Taylor’s Halt and Blackridge also experienced problems.

This was also confirmed by residents on The Witness Facebook group who complained of having no power in these areas, some of them for most of the day.

According to a message circulated on Sunday afternoon by Ward 6 councillor in Hilton, Craig Millar, the primary fault had still not been located at about 3 pm.

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