Sinkhole scare for Carletonville residents

The owner of one of the two affected houses in Erica Street, Mr Onamandla Gaga, photographing the damage to his driveway last Wednesday.

The residents of two houses in Erica Street in Carletonville had a huge scare when a sinkhole started caving in between their driveways during the past week.
According to the owner of No. 15, Mr Tlhabanelo Reitumetse, the tenant phoned him on the evening of Tuesday, 2 May, to complain that something was seriously amiss when he went to close the gate. When he went to investigate the next morning, he found that the driveway and the wall separating it from the neighbours had started sinking. The adjacent house, No. 17, owned by Mr Onamandla Gaga but also occupied by tenants, was also without water.
According to Reitumetse, his tenants have complained for some time that the water account was unusually high.
‘I have lost several tenants at the house due to the high water bills,’ he told the Herald. As a result, he has asked the Merafong City Local Municipality to install a water meter on the property.
At the time of the Herald’s visit, the ground seemed to be sinking fast and the pavers in the driveway of No.15 were collapsing into the hole underneath them. Water was also streaming under them.
There were also several growing cracks in the ground.
The residents waited for most of the day for the municipality to get back to them. Meanwhile, the Herald contacted a West Rand District Municipality disaster management official, Mr Elias Koloi, who promised to assist.
‘Given the consistently high water consumption, it seems as though the sinkhole was caused by a water leak that the municipality did not pick up. It has clearly been there for some time already,’ said Mr Carlos Rebelo, a councillor who was also at the scene.
By Monday, there had been more earth movement and the pre-cast panels of the wall separating the properties were pulling apart. Although the ground had not collapsed completely, the sidewalk in front of the houses had been dug up to sort out the water leak.
The Herald asked the municipality about the matter on Tuesday.
‘The municipality did not notice the leakage as the meter is located inside the yard. It was, therefore, the owner/tenants’ responsibility to report the problem. The infrastructure department has inspected the leak to determine if it was on the owner’s or municipal side.
‘The sinkhole formation affected the main pipeline and the water supply was interrupted. The water pipe has since been repaired and the water supply restored. The excavation was done in the vicinity and a Geotech (VGI) specialist was called in to inspect the area.
We will be monitoring the area to check for any water leakage.
A temporary metered water supply line has been installed,’ a municipal spokesperson reported.

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