Open trench poses safety risk, say Uitenhage residents
Municipality says complaints will be “escalated as matter of urgency”
Eunice Dama of Khayelitsha in Uitenhage says a trench dug by municipal workers to fix a burst pipe outside her house, has been left open for over a month.
Dama says the team had responded to a burst pipe in her road on 14 November. “There was a pool of drinking water running down my street when municipal workers arrived and fixed the pipe … When they left the hole, I assumed the trench was still muddy and that they would come back after it went dry and cover the trench.”
She said residents have been pleading for the trench to be filled as it posed a safety risk for children playing in the street. “At the bottom of the trench are electrical wires as well as pipes that are exposed. Children always want to get in the trench. Grass is growing inside there while it has now become a dump site,” she said.
Dama said that when she contacted the municipality last week, a woman on the phone told her that she ‘couldn’t promise that the problem would be fixed this year’.
Dama said she cannot use her driveway as a result of the trench. “My car cannot be parked inside the yard. I always ask neighbours to keep it in their yards, and that is a risk on its own because some of my neighbour’s yards are not secured,” she said.
Her son, Bulumko, 20, said he too called the municipality two weeks ago. He said, “When I mentioned our reference number, a woman on the other side [of the phone] said they know about the trench, and that we must wait,” he said.
A neighbour, Lulama Mbatha, said he was worried that there were no warning signs or construction tape around the hole to caution people. “This is carelessness from the side of the municipality. Speeding cars could be avoiding hitting our children who often play on the road and veer towards the trench.”
Ward 43 Councillor Simphiwe Ntshiza (EFF) said he too reported the trench to the municipality personally.
Mayoral spokesman George Geleba said: “The trench has been escalated to the area supervisors for their attention. It should be attended to as a matter of urgency to prevent the affected family from sustaining possible serious injuries.”
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