Work on the sinkhole at the intersection of Jean Avenue and Gerhard Street in Centurion has been delayed by as much as two months. This is according to the metro’s latest progress report.
It was originally expected that work on the sinkhole would have been finished by 20 July.
However, it will now only be finished by 20 September.
The report blamed the delay on the discovery of a nearby sinkhole, which made its appearance after the heavy rains in March.
The new sinkhole is less than 50 metres from the original one and must also be repaired before traffic can be reopened at the formerly busy intersection.
Jacques Classen, an attorney representing several businesses in the area, said the delay was in contempt of a court order and could possibly result in jail time for the municipal manager.
“The municipal manager in person can be held liable to a fine or three- to six-months’ imprisonment,” he told Rekord.
The original sinkhole made its appearance in May of last year.
Its appearance has resulted in traffic being diverted in the area and local businesses suffering as a consequence as motorists avoided the area.
Some of the local businesses instituted a class action against the metro late last year in an effort to speed up repair work on the sinkhole.
In January, the Pretoria High Court ordered the metro to start repairs by 24 January and complete the project within six months.
Classen said the metro would be in contempt of court should it not comply with the order.
The delay was met with dismay by local business owners.
“This is totally unacceptable,” said Philip Lourens, owner of the nearby Zenex filling station.
“It is, in my opinion, absurd and reprehensible in the worst form that Tshwane is using the second sinkhole as an apology for the delay.”
Lourens’ petrol station experienced a 50 percent drop in business since the sinkhole was discovered.
He is also livid that his filling station is now used as a through-way by motorists and heavy vehicles.
Garry Canaris, owner of the nearby News Café, had to close his restaurant last year as customers avoided the At Ease Centre because of the sinkhole.
Canaris told Rekord the plan was to reopen in August, after the sinkhole has been completed.
“Now I have to extend the reopening,” said Canaris. “All of this remains a costly affair.”
The metro could not be reached for comment at the time of going to press.
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