Metro to dig up R60 million for sinkholes

The current state of affairs at the Jean Avenue sinkhole in Centurion. Photo: Jason Milford

The Tshwane metro has committed R25 million to repair the sinkhole in Jean Avenue in Centurion, estimating it work would be completed in nine months.

This would be the largest single cost of repair, and will also require a service provider with the necessary capacity to undertake the work.

But to repair all 24 sinkholes in Tshwane (23 in Centurion) would set the council back R60 million.

Tshwane MMC for corporate and shared services, Cilliers Brink, said emergency funds had to be diverted to deal with this sinkhole as the number one priority.

ALSO READ: GALLERY: Centurion sinkhole budget R25 million despite cheaper options

The metro said repair work would commence within the next few weeks.

Mayoral spokesperson Samkelo Mgobozi said there could be delays due to wet ground conditions, availability of specialised equipment and contractor closures in December.

He said over the years the metro had not budgeted adequately for repairing sinkholes.

“Much of Centurion and Laudium are built on dolomitic soil, which is predisposed to collapse when coming into contact with a large concentration of acidic water.”

The sinkhole had caused massive disruption to business and traffic flow in the area.

ALSO READ: Phased repairs planned for Centurion sinkhole

“We have committed ourselves to address the problem over the next financial years. However, site securing, geological investigations and periodic monitoring of the sinkholes are being done in the meantime.”

Mgobozi said the metro’s finances also needed “repairing” as the DA administration inherited a nearly R2 billion budget deficit, of which R1.5 billion was allegedly squandered by the previous government on fruitless and wasteful, unauthorised and irregular expenditure.

“As we work to repair Tshwane’s finances, the city will, therefore, have to prioritise the repair of some sinkholes over others. That order of priority, determined by engineers, not politicians concerns the safety of the public, exposure of risk to businesses and the community, size and extent of damage to infrastructure, stability of the sinkhole, scope of repair work and the age of the sinkhole.”

He said though there was no guaranteed way to know exactly where sinkholes would next form, the Tshwane mayoral committee was convinced the metro could manage the problem much more effectively.

ALSO READ: Centurion sinkhole causes accidents

“It is clear that a more realistic budget needs to be allocated to sinkhole repairs in future. And so we are exploring the possibility of a constituency reserve fund in future budgets.”

He said the upgrade of the other underground wet services such as sewer and storm water systems must also receive attention.

Mgobozi said the metro had also been approached by a corporate entity offering to assist in fixing the Jean Avenue sinkhole.

He said the final assessment of the sinkhole repair method would be done within the next two weeks after which it would be determined how offers of assistance could be used.

Mogobozi said the biggest cost in fixing sinkholes was not merely the method and the material used to close the hole, but also the relocation and re-instatement of service infrastructure accompanying such a geomorphological disruption.

ALSO READ: Hefty sinkhole at crossing in Centurion

Two more sinkholes prioritised for repair were in Clubview and repair work would cost about R18 million. The first could affect 900 households and cost R3 million to repair while the other, in Second Avenue, Claudius, was expected cost R15 million to repair.

“In the coming weeks the metro will see if further funds can be reprioritised for the repair of these sinkholes within the present financial year,” said Mgobozi.

 

 

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  AUTHOR
Jason Milford

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Centurion sinkholes a costly R60 million