Makana driv­ers eye claims pot

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - NEWS - Adri­enne Carlisle

THE Makana Mu­nic­i­pal­ity could face dozens of claims for dam­age to ve­hi­cles due to the abun­dant pot­holes that riddle the roads, par­tic­u­larly in Gra­ham­stown.

The Gra­ham­stown Res­i­dent’s As­so­ci­a­tion has put in place a “how to” recipe for cit­i­zens to claim against the mu­nic­i­pal­ity in the event peo­ple suf­fer in­jury or dam­age as a di­rect re­sult of pot­holes.

If dam­age is caused to your car or your per­son, says the as­so­ci­a­tion on so­cial me­dia, a let­ter should be sent to roads man­ager Mtu­tuzeli Mh­laba ex­plain­ing what hap­pened, where it hap­pened and pho­to­graphs of the dam­age caused. Mi­nor claims re­quire one quote, ma­jor claims three.

As­so­ci­a­tion sec­re­tary Tim Bull said that while it would do its bit to as­sist the mu­nic­i­pal­ity, cit­i­zens should not be made to suf­fer fi­nan­cial losses as a re­sult of the pot­hole cri­sis.

It was with this in mind that it had put to­gether the recipe for cit­i­zens to claim against the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

Gra­ham­stown’s pot­holes have be­come a na­tional joke. Some years back Rhodes Uni­ver­sity stu­dents and oth­ers be­gan plant­ing trees and other pot plants in pot­holes to draw at­ten­tion to the prob­lem.

But the mu­nic­i­pal­ity is broke and it is es­ti­mated it would cost well over a R1-bil­lion to prop­erly re­pair its ho­ley road net­work. Fail­ure to main­tain the roads has led to such sub­stan­tial dam­age that vast ar­eas of re­quire com­plete resur­fac­ing.

The city, which an­nu­ally hosts sev­eral prom­i­nent arts, cul­tural, science and other fes­ti­vals, faces dozens of prob­lems apart from its ubiq­ui­tous and size­able pot­holes.

Its san­i­ta­tion, wa­ter and elec­tric­ity net­works and in­fra­struc­ture are in a dire state, lead­ing to fre­quent pipe bursts, se­vere sew­er­age leaks and elec­tric­ity out­ages. The city is also drown­ing in rub­bish, with in­for­mal rub­bish heaps spring­ing up in sub­ur­ban ar­eas and next to schools.

So se­vere are the prob­lems the mu­nic­i­pal­ity faces that Co­op­er­a­tive Gov­er­nance Min­is­ter Dr Zweli Mkhize and his provin­cial coun­ter­part Fik­ile Xasa will meet af­fected stake­hold­ers in Gra­ham­stown to­day to as­cer­tain what in­ter­ven­tions the provin­cial and na­tional gov­ern­ments could im­ple­ment to as­sist the ail­ing mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

The Sarah Baart­man Dis­trict Mu­nic­i­pal­ity has also sec­onded its mu­nic­i­pal man­ager Ted Pil­lay to Makana to try to map a way out of the mess. The state of the roads is also on the agenda. Ac­cord­ing to a re­port which forms part of the dis­cus­sions, the mu­nic­i­pal­ity faces a huge pot­hole cri­sis which would cost in the vicin­ity of R1.2-bil­lion to rem­edy.

The mu­nic­i­pal­ity had not re­sponded to a writ­ten and tele­phonic re­quest for com­ment at the time of writ­ing.

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