COUNCILLOR Ashok Maharajh with Effingham resident Simiso Nkwanyana who is embroiled in a battle with the eThekwini Municipality over his driveway and the stream below it. Zainul Dawood
Durban - A driveway crossing over a stream for a resident to have access to his home is a bone of contention in Effingham.

Homeowner Simiso Nkwanyana and the eThekwini Coastal Engineering Stormwater Catchment Management department (CSCM) are at loggerheads over the issue on Matheran Road.Nkwanyana said debris, a recent sewerage leak into the stream and torrential rain have damaged and collapsed part of the driveway, making it dangerous to cross.

Nkwanyana, who moved in 18 years ago, blamed the problem on a lack of maintenance of the stream which he said had now swollen into the width of a river.

“Seven years ago, I tried to repair the driveway but I was stopped by a municipal official saying it was their property. Now they are changing the story. The stormwater pipe broke under the road. The municipality has asked me to submit building plans for the driveway. Why must I pay for building plans? They have no empathy. I am paying exorbitant rates for what? I only get plastic bin bags at the end of the month,” Nkwanyana said.

A neighbour, Satish Rajnarain, said all they were asking for was access over the river and not for the entire driveway to be resurfaced.

Ryan Moses uses Nkwanyana’s driveway to gain access to a footpath leading to his home.

Ward Councillor Ashok Maharajh said he was dealing with a double-edged sword. “On one occasion the municipality told us that the driveway fell in Nkwanyana’s property and he should be responsible for the repairs. He has a wife and two children who are also in danger when they cross. Passing the buck is not the way forward,” Maharajh said.

eThekwini Municipality spokesperson Mandla Nsele said the CSCM had met with the councillor and the affected residents on numerous occasions, the most recent meeting in July.

“This is a private crossing over the stream. We have advised residents that a proper crossing, per an engineer’s specification, as part of the building plan approval process, must be submitted to council for approval,” Nsele said.

He said the municipality was precluded from providing driveway access to private properties, as this is not permissible in terms of the Municipal Finance Management Act.

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