Residents fear amid flat damage

Moreton Hall building is suspected to be at risk of collapsing following a storm water pipe burst that eroded part of a foundation wall. Picture: Tumi Pakkies/African News Agency (ANA)

Moreton Hall building is suspected to be at risk of collapsing following a storm water pipe burst that eroded part of a foundation wall. Picture: Tumi Pakkies/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jul 12, 2023


Durban — Residents living in Moreton Hall, a block of flats in Morningside, are concerned for their safety after the owners allegedly did not submit an engineers’ report to the municipality following a burst water pipe that caused damaged on Friday.

The force of the water damaged a wall of the building and residents had to vacate it before the water was shut off.

Residents, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of being victimised, have expressed dissatisfaction with the owner, claiming that he had not communicated with them on the structural integrity of the building since the incident.

EThekwini Municipality spokesperson Lindiwe Khuzwayo said city officials had visited the property twice.

Khuzwayo said the first time they met with the trustees, officials requested that they submit an engineer’s report stating that the building was safe for occupation, failing which the building must be evacuated. Khuzwayo said that during the second visit, a second notice was issued as the report had not been submitted.

“The engineer was also on site and confirmed that he is unable to provide such certification due to the risk of further failure of the driveway slab which is structurally integrated with the main structure.

“The collapse of the driveway slab and retaining wall was presumably attributed to the removal of soil from the lower ground floor level and the undermining of the foundations of the boundary wall,” Khuzwayo explained.

Khuzwayo said notices were served on the body corporate in April during the time of the illegal excavation.

“Unfortunately, the unauthorised work continued regardless, which essentially triggered the collapse of the driveway slab and boundary wall,” she said.

Khuzwayo said the municipality had requested the body corporate, via written notice, to submit a methodology statement on the remedial works that need to be carried out.

Residents were also concerned about their vehicles that were trapped inside.

With no feedback from the owner, they have a fear that the building could collapse.

A resident who is living in the building for eight years felt unsafe and was seeking alternative accommodation.

She said that when the incident happened on Friday, she had to take her family to a hotel.

“I had to pay for a hotel which was expensive just so that we could have a place to sleep. I was scared of what might happen. The frustrating thing is we cannot get hold of anyone to give us an explanation or tell us the way forward. Right now my car is trapped and I am forced to use public transport to look for accommodation,” she said.

Another resident has to park her vehicle outside the building.

“We know that the engineers are assessing the building but I do not feel safe because this looks critical. It is unsafe for our cars to be parked in the building’s parking lot because of what happened,” she explained.

A third resident said he was just waiting for the end of the month to move somewhere else.

“What I know is that they were trying to extend the parking and I think they did something wrong, hence the results. As much as my car is parked outside the premises, I am glad that they hired more security to look after our cars,” he said.

He further stated that it was going to be good if there was communication from the owners about a way forward.

Khuzwayo said the municipality will assess and consider issuing a provisional authorisation for the commencement of the remedial works.

“On completion of the remedial works and the submission of a stability certificate from the engineer, the building may then be re-occupied.

“This is private property and all associated works are for the responsibility of the owner, ie body corporate.We will continue monitoring the site to ensure compliance,” she said.

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