Two years later: Ikageng sinkhole left unattended

Maserai Sarah Mafisa in front of her house in 2016. Photo: Selogile Leshage

In June 2016, the future of some residents in Rev. Phetlhu Street was uncertain after a 4-metre deep sinkhole fell in metres from their houses.

One of the people who were affected was 58-year-old Maserai Sarah Mafisa who dreaded the thought of relocating. The retired teacher had just spent more than R350 000 to complete renovations to her house.

At the time, she said there was nothing she could do because safety is of utmost importance in this situation.

William Maphosa, the municipal spokesperson, said they were waiting for geologists to complete their tests in the area.

In December, Maphosa said the municipality had appointed Ages to investigate the immediate threat that the sinkhole posed, define the subsurface extent of the sinkhole and develop a rehabilitation plan. ‘We can now report that all the work has been completed.  It must be noted that, in the light of the results of the investigation and the recommended sinkhole rehabilitation plan, the permanent resettlement of the four houses surrounding the sinkhole will not be necessary,’ he said.

‘Also, prior to the rehabilitation, the residents of the two other adjacent erven should closely monitor their properties. It may also be necessary for them to move temporarily once the rehabilitation starts until such time as it is has been successfully completed.

‘The municipality will engage with the affected families in this regard. The rehabilitation process is expected to take about 20 weeks from the date of appointment to completion,’ he said.

The sinkhole that fell in a few metres from Maserai’s 8-room house in Rev. Phetlhu Street in Ikageng. Photo: Dustin Wetdewich

The Herald has it on record from another affected resident, Dawid Dichabe, however, that the hole is still there and the rehabilitation has never happened.

Residents dumping rubbish inside sinkhole
‘Some of the residents are now dumping rubbish in the hole. People just ignore the cordon – cars drive through the street and people walk around our yards as if it does not exist,’ he said.

He added that those affected feel trapped because the municipality has not been able to give them answers about how long the whole procedure is going to take.

‘When I asked the communications department, they referred me to town planning. town planning referred me to infrastructure and they, in turn, referred me to Mr Zungu who was not available at the time (August 2017). I even went to the ward councillor myself and he said there were no funds and that the municipality was looking for donations.’

Sinkhole is obstructing gate entrance

Dichabe says he is desperate because the sinkhole is right in front of his gate and is obstructing the entrance.

When the Herald contacted Maphosa again for answers, he said the contract with Ages, the previous service provider, had expired and the municipality was in the process of appointing a new one to manage the dolomite issue. He said the executive mayor planned to address the residents of Phetlhu Street in detail regarding this matter on Saturday, 7 July.

According to Dichabe, the meeting never took place, leaving those affected uncertain and worrying that the sinkhole would further endanger their lives while the municipality sits back and does nothing.

‘How long is it going to take to appoint another service provider?’ he asked.

Anxious times for residents living near sinkhole

*To read the full story, read the Potchefstroom Herald (12 July 2018 issue).

 

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  AUTHOR
Selogile Leshage
Journalist

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