Complaints ignored

Agi Orfanos, Blouberg

Sadly the City of Cape Town neglected many projects even in so-called wealthy suburbs (“Fixing potholes,” Tabletalk, October 7).

I logged many complaints which remained unresolved for months.

I believe wealthier suburbs pay a lot more rates and taxes and most of the revenue is redirected to poorer areas.

However, poorer areas such as Rugby, Joe Slovo and Brooklyn have deteriorated largely due to a lack of pride and responsibility by residents.

So very often, I notice residents throwing their trash in the road, despite bins nearby, and taxi drivers emptying all their rubbish onto pavements while waiting for passengers.

Notable too is the amount of illegal dumping of rubbish and building rubble on open spaces.

Street sellers often dump their packaging and food containers into storm drains or ditches.

Violent protesting and riots haven’t helped either with destructive elements burning MyCiTi bus stations or stealing copper cables from street lights or manhole covers.

This costs the City hundreds of millions each year resulting in less disposable income to help the poor.

I have been to similar suburbs with similar housing to Brooklyn or Rugby, in Sydney, Australia, and it’s so very different, simply because they respect and look after their gardens and streets surrounding them.

Illegal disposal of litter is severely punished.

Finally I can still remember these suburbs looking so much better 15 to 20 years ago.

I don’t know what it was, but people seemed to have had a huge sense of pride in those days keeping their environment clean and tidy.

Felicity Purchase, mayoral committee member for transport and public works , responds:

The City of Cape Town is working around the clock to repair potholes and would like to thank residents for their patience (“Fixing potholes,” Tabletalk, October 7).

Our transport directorate is implementing recovery plans to conduct these repairs as well as to eradicate the backlog brought on by the Covid-19 lockdown and winter rains.

We have identified interventions by assessing the service requests from residents over the past few months.

Programmes for each district area were prepared and are currently being rolled out and residents will soon see the maintenance work being undertaken in their areas.

The City’s roads and infrastructure depots in Atlantis and Killarney both fall within the Blaauwberg district office, which is currently addressing each recorded pothole notification throughout the district.

By September 17, there were a total of 323 potholes across the Blaauwberg district that still needed to be repaired. Twenty six of these potholes were reported to the Killarney depot – 80% of these have been addressed.

The remaining 297 potholes are being attended to by the Atlantis depot and will be addressed in the coming weeks.

Suburbs still affected include Melkbosstrand, Protea Park, Sherwood Park, Atlantis Industrial Area, Saxonsea and Avondale.

In order to expedite the maintenance of these affected areas and address this backlog, the City has allocated the maintenance work to the depot staff, as well as external service providers by utilising current term tenders.

The City is currently preparing a contract for external service providers to commence before the end of October 2020 and end in December 2020.

We are focused on eradicating the backlog.

In the meantime, we ask residents to please keep on reporting potholes to the Transport Information Centre on 0800 65 64 63.

It is important to note that when alert level 5 of the lockdown came into effect on March 27, roads and stormwater services were not considered essential services.

Depots had to reduce their workforce to comply with the Covid-19 health and safety protocols.

Only a small staff complement remained on duty to attend to emergencies.

Due to the timing of the lockdown, depots could not conclude the winter readiness programme, which is vital in preparing for the rainy season.

Water ingress is one of the key contributors to the formation of potholes and the winter readiness programme focuses on clearing blockages or potential blockages in time for the winter rains.

As a result, there has been an increased amount of water on the roads, resulting in an increase in potholes and the further deterioration of existing ones.

We had a very wet rainy season, which has also further exacerbated the deterioration of our roads.

While the rainy season continues, we primarily rely on a temporary fix as the road surface needs to be dry for the pothole filling to seal.

As the levels of the national lockdown have been eased, the staff numbers at depots have increased to 70%. Clearing of the backlog is being prioritised and being attended to as a matter of urgency and will improve as more staff return to the depots across the city.

The maintenance work is scheduled to take place across the City until April 2021, pending unforeseen delays and inclement weather.

We understand residents’ frustration and ask for their continued patience while we tackle the backlog.

Residents are reminded to please include their name, contact number and the exact location of the pothole when reporting it.

The accuracy of these details will improve our response time.

We want to thank our residents for working with us.