Family's fears deepen over garden sinkholes

The Star
A desperate Florida Hills, Roodepoort, family is at its wits’ end over two large, deep and potentially dangerous sinkholes that have developed in their garden.

Marcelle van Dyk says that stormwater drains running under her property have become corroded over the years, which have caused the sinkholes.

She says neighbouring properties, under which the same stormwater drains run, are also at the same risk.

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UNPLEASANT SURPRISE: Sinkholes (top and below) have developed in the garden of a property in Florida Hills. Pictures: Nhlanhla PhillipsUNPLEASANT SURPRISE: Sinkholes (top and below) have developed in the garden of a property in Florida Hills. Pictures: Nhlanhla Phillips

But despite numerous promises from the Joburg Roads Agency (JRA) to come and do the repairs, the latest promise being after the Easter long weekend, no one has appeared.

In the meantime, her house has started sinking, with resultant cracks in walls.

“We have had five JRA teams here, all confirming that it is corroded stormwater drains, and everyone says they are going to escalate the problem, but nothing ever gets done.

“I don’t know what to do. We want to sell the property, but cannot do so with these holes. This has been going on for more than a year.

“If the ground collapses further or if there is more damage to my house or if there is any injury to anyone on my property, I am going to sue the JRA. I am not sure what to do anymore as far as the JRA is concerned as no one is taking responsibility,” she said.

JRA spokesperson Bertha Scheepers said the agency has appointed consulting engineers to ensure that the issue is permanently resolved as a matter of urgency.

“The project will entail thorough site investigation of the existing stormwater infrastructure and then remedial action.

“The initial investigation from two weeks ago has revealed that there is an existing corrugated sheeting stormwater pipe which has dilapidated above the course of its lifespan.

“The dilapidation resulted in cavitation and structural damage to the property at Matopos Street.

“At this point the indication is that the corrugated sheeting stormwater pipe may have been left to be redundant, alternatively it may be connecting to a different system from the one that was investigated.

“The next step will be to conduct a specialised service with a CCTV system and the X-ray survey of stormwater pipes to conclusively determine the layout of the stormwater pipes system.

“This will be done shortly, whereafter a recommendation and implementation of necessary remedial action will be undertaken,” she said.

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