Drain damage, open holes are hazards for Houghton walkers

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THERE are 80 missing manhole covers and collapsed stormwater drains around the Houghton Golf Course.

Resident Gregory Katz says he often walks in the area and has started noticing the state of neglect of the pavements in the area.

“I decided to start documenting them. I am an architect and have resources, so I got my staff to help me photograph them. It is a shame how the city neglects pedestrians. They react to potholes, but neglect our pavements,” he said.

Katz said collapsing stormwater drains were one of the main problems.

“Pedestrians are in danger because they have to keep stepping off the verges and into the street if they don’t want to fall and injure themselves,” he said.

He photographed the 80 problems and intends sending them to both the Johannesburg Roads Agency and Johannesburg Water.

“A lawyer told me that the city will not be held responsible for injuries caused by these missing covers and stormwater drains unless they are aware of them and they have been reported. I therefore intend to make them aware of them so that they will be held liable should pedestrians hurt themselves,” he said.

The council should send inspectors to survey entire streets and blocks instead of reacting to one-off problems, and send a team in to do all the repairs, he said.

Local councillor Marcelle Ravid said she was helping Katz in getting the report and photographs to the right people.

“I want to thank the residents for this initiative. However, this is what the urban planning management department should be doing, not the residents. It is well known that there are hundreds of similar problems around the suburbs. We recently logged 200 problems in 1km2 in Lower Houghton,” she said.

The problem of manhole covers being stolen was an ongoing one to which the council could not seem to find a solution, she said.

“I have continuously asked what they are doing not only to replace them, but to replace them with materials that will not be stolen.”


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