Fury at mess made to repair fire hydrant

Off my Trolley

Alma Fouche said a municipal crew arrived to dig up a fire pump in the driveway of her Pentz Drive, Flamingo Vlei home, that she had reported was leaking after a burst pipe at 29 Pentz Drive.

“For some reason they came down to the fire hydrant on our driveway. They left it leaking and we phoned and they came immediately and fixed it.

“Then one Sunday, at 6.30pm, we saw lights on our driveway and we contacted the police and the security. They informed them they were there to fix a ‘fixed’ fire hydrant, they switched off our water and dug up the tiles till 9pm. They said they were repairing the fire pipe and it would take about two hours.

We were never warned or advised and it is totally unacceptable. The issue is they placed all the driveway bricks in a pile and left a hole there and we have to drive extremely carefully when we go out.

How is it possible they can come and dig up the driveway on a Sunday night, but no one comes to fix the damage? I wrote to the municipality several times, logging a C3 each time.

I then received an email from Elrich Bock, who took pictures of the damage. He said it wasn’t his department, but he copied several people, none of whom took any action.

The garage says my car is not badly damaged, it just gets scratched when it goes in the hole and touches the side tiles. I am sending the bill to the City of Cape Town. All I want is for them to repair the damage they caused that Sunday night,” Ms Fouche said.

In one of the many emails she sent to the call centre, Ms Fouche wrote:

“My driveway is still not repaired. The pillar of our wall is falling over and we need an engineer to check what the hell you guys did to the foundation right next to the pillar. I have lived in this house for 40 years and never, not ever, have we had such bad service, and I hope they don’t use the virus as an excuse. There is no excuse for what they have done. I pay my rates and taxes every month and have never made an excuse not to pay it.”

Mayoral committee member for water and waste Xanthea Limberg said the crew had repaired a fire hydrant.

“The team attended to an emergency water-related complaint and had to isolate the water.

“The fire hydrant was opened once the repair was done to flush out any sand that might have settled as well as air bubbles to prevent a future burst.

“The City is currently dealing with a backlog of road reinstatements as these were not allowed to take place during the early stages of lockdown.

Even under normal conditions, however, resurfacing is not immediately possible, and in these cases, contractors are required to ensure the road is level with surrounding tarmac until resurfacing can be completed.

In this case, the site was made safe awaiting the reinstating team, but unfortunately sagged due to the extreme weather that we experienced recently, and the increased waiting period that resulted from the national lockdown.

“City officials met the client in September. The driveway has been levelled again and will be reinstated as soon as weather permits. The fire hydrant will also be moved out of the driveway,” she said.

Mayoral committee member for finance and deputy mayor Ian Neilson said a claim application could be submitted to the City of Cape Town’s insurance claims section by completing a public-liability claim form and providing all supporting information.

“Each claim is assessed on its own merit, which includes assessment of whether there has been any negligence or omission on the City’s side. Once the City has received the claim form or formal correspondence, a reference number will be provided for all future liaison,” he said.

Delay to the reinstatement work was due to the unfavourable weather conditions. The email trail only reached the correct department on September 14.

“We always strive to deliver a good service to all our end users and will act as soon as we become aware of a problem.

“We will encourage City employees to always exercise caution when conducting duties of this nature,” Mr Neilson said.

“We will reinstate the driveway to an acceptable standard.”

And Ms Fouche said: “Wonderful news they (the crew) were here at 7.30am on September 16, and a team of guys are working on the driveway.

“Thank you so much for your intervention. After five months, this is great and I have already posted it on our neighbourhood page.”