Contractors abandon stinky sinkhole

Willem van Wyk shows the hole filled with sewage in Sycamore Road, Umbilo.

AN open sinkhole filled with sewage water is causing a stink in Sycamore Road, Umbilo.

Resident, Willem van Wyk, who is concerned about the health hazard the sinkhole poses to the neighbourhood, said the hole of unbearably smelly sewage has been open since before Christmas.

Van Wyk said around six weeks ago, the corporation arrived to work on the sinkhole which had developed in the the narrow roadway. Workers filled the hole and then left. He said three weeks later the road started sagging in the same spot again and workers once again returned, worked in the hole, filled it with sand and left.

“The week before Christmas they returned and when I enquired what they were doing, they said there was a leak in a pipe. They came with a payloader and dug a hole adjacent to where they had previously been working. They worked until 1pm on the day, then left, and a second contractor arrived and said it looked like there was a sewage water leak, as the sewage pipe seemed to have been damaged. At night the hole was filled with sand,and contractors arrived the next morning and opened it again. They told me they didn’t deal with sewage leaks and that I should contact the councillor about it. They then left,” he said

Van Wyk said he was shocked that contractors working for the municipality didn’t appear to know what they were doing, and suggested their work be inspected.

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“You can’t just leave sewage exposed like this, it is unhealthy. The stench is terrible and I can smell it from inside my flat. I can’t even open my windows and I live on the second floor. It is a health hazard to us. People working in nearby businesses are complaining, and there is a school meters away which is opening next week. This is also a very narrow road, and cars are having to pass by the hole on the one side, which could undermine the road even further,” he said.

Commenting on this issue, ward councillor Mmabatho Tembe said she was investigating the matter.

“It has come to my attention that workers start jobs and if something goes wrong, and it is something they don’t deal with, they just leave the site and don’t report the matter for further attention. There are other jobs in the area where workers place cones or barrels around the site and leave. It seems to residents that jobs are not being reported, when quite simply, the municipality is not finishing work on site,” she said.


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Lauren Walford

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