A significant safety hazard has emerged in Hutten Heights, Newcastle. A substantial hole, measuring between three to five metres in depth, was discovered on Rooibok Avenue, situated on the thoroughfare between Pick n Pay and Checkers.
The sizeable hole has its origins in a manhole created by the Newcastle Municipality, from which sewage has been flowing unchecked into the surrounding area.
Disturbingly, the manhole in question was allegedly left incomplete, resulting in the hazardous cavity that now poses a serious threat to individuals utilising this frequently travelled thoroughfare.
New City Newcastle’s Gustav van der Linde shed light on the situation. He revealed that residents residing in the vicinity had alerted him to the perilous hole’s existence. Upon personally inspecting the site, van der Linde was stunned by the size of the void that had been left exposed.
“I then reported it to the Ward Councillor, Cllr Bertie Meiring, on 14 August 2023. If someone falls in here, no one will know. This hole poses a major safety risk,” voiced van der Linde, highlighting that several residents traverse this thoroughfare on a daily basis.
Adding to the concern, it is in the proximity of a primary school and a drinking establishment, further heightening the risks to children and individuals making their way home after enjoying a few drinks.
Despite raising the issue with the Ward Councillor early in August, no remedial action had been taken to date, leaving van der Linde deeply perturbed. “I expected something to have been done already. As an ex-senior engineer who worked in the mining industry, safety was always the main priority. But I don’t see that here,” he stressed.
Taking matters into their own hands, on Friday, 8 September 2023, Gustav van der Linde and fellow New City Newcastle member Wilson Zwane decided to intervene. They undertook the task of temporarily covering the hole with a lid and surrounded it with safety cones.
Van der Linde emphasised, “This is only a temporary solution, and the Municipality still needs to take appropriate action. However, New City Newcastle is not solely about beautifying parks; we are dedicated to creating a safe environment for all Newcastle residents.”
While the situation stands as a reminder of the importance of action in addressing public safety concerns and highlighting the role that individuals can play in ensuring the wellbeing of their community, Newcastillian News approached Cllr Bertie Meiring for comment.
He explained that the hole was indeed a manhole, where municipal officials installed a new sewage line at the back of Grace Park.
Delving into the matter further, Cllr Meiring pointed out that he has taken the matter up with the relevant departments and is waiting for feedback.
As he now awaits a response from the respective departments, Cllr Meiring said, “It is indeed a huge safety concern and should be immediately addressed by the Municipality. Even if they could put any heavy structure on it to cover it. A life worth more than the cost of a lid.”
While New City Newcastle has provided a temporary solution, Cllr Meiring has assured he would continue working on the matter until the problem is resolved.
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