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Anger over trenches

Bothasig residents are up in arms after Eskom started digging trenches in the area.

The trenches, according to comments on the Bothasig Residents’ Association (BRA) Facebook page, are left open for days and pose a danger to pedestrians.

Trenches have been dug in Botma and Ross streets, but apparently the digging will affect the entire Bothasig.

One resident wrote that the situation is unacceptable, saying that on windy days things only get worse and that people have nowhere to park when visiting. Another mentioned that the grass he recently planted had been “destroyed” by the sand.

The open excavations were apparently the work of a subcontractor.

Helen Carstens, councillor for ward 5, has confirmed there has been meetings between all the role players, including Eskom, BRA and her office. Carstens indicated she is unsure as to what the trenches are for as it is an external project run by the power utility.

The excavations are set to continue until February 2020.

“The complaints were first brought to my attention when it appeared on social media.

“Eskom’s contractor did meet with me prior to the commencement of the project, and because of my previous experience with Eskom, I enquired if a community liaison officer (CLO) would be appointed and if residents would be informed. The contractor said that this would happen but, unfortunately, it did not happen,” Carstens says.

The last meeting was held on Wednesday 11 December between the stakeholders, including the Bothasig neighbourhood watch and local community policing forum.

“I met with Eskom who admitted that they had erred on the point of checking with the contractor to ascertain if the CLO had been appointed and the residents had been notified.”

The matter was also brought to the attention of the department of roads and transport, Carstens says.

Eskom was to meet with the contractor and to insist that a CLO be appointed and that the streets were trenched and reinstated within a reasonable timeframe.

On Friday, Eskom responded, saying it was upgrading its underground network in the area by laying cables in Botma and Ross streets.

“Unfortunately, the trenches were left open for a few days in early December but have subsequently been closed.

“Work related to trenching and cable laying has stopped for the calendar year but not the reinstatement of the pavements and drive-ways. It is expected that the contractor allocated to the project will complete the reinstatement of the two streets by Thursday 19 December.

“Eskom apologises for the inconvenience caused to its customers,” the power utility says.

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