Massive hole closes Earl Haig Road

The sinkhole in Earl Haig Road in which rubbish has been dumped, thereby attracting rats to the area. I Shelley Kjonstad Independent Newspapers.

The sinkhole in Earl Haig Road in which rubbish has been dumped, thereby attracting rats to the area. I Shelley Kjonstad Independent Newspapers.

Published Jul 7, 2024


Durban — Rats and rubbish bags have made a home in a massive sinkhole in Earl Haig Road in Morningside which is partially blockaded and inaccessible to residents and traffic in the area.

Almost a year after the massive crater-sized hole developed nearly swallowing up a taxi, repairs to the road have still not been completed.

Earl Haig Road resident Neetu Chetty is at the end of her tether because not only is the sinkhole unsafe, but people have been dumping their rubbish in the hole, attracting rats to the area. This week she demanded to know why the road has still not been fixed after the municipality’s “blunder” last year.

“The sinkhole was caused as a result of a pipe burst under the tar. Many complaints were lodged by residents over a year ago. It resulted in a sinkhole (which) formed under a taxi as it was driving on the road,” she said.

In 2023 a minibus taxi plunged into a sinkhole on Earl Haig Road after a water pipe burst beneath the road. | FACEBOOK

Chetty said despite lodging numerous complaints and receiving several reference numbers from the municipality, a year later the road remains impassable.

“There is now a rat infestation arising as a result of garden waste now being dumped in the cordoned-off Earl Haig Road,” she said.

When the council was slow to respond last year, residents took the matter to the media and the picture of a taxi in the sinkhole went viral.

In June 2023 the municipality posted a story on its website in which it said that “the reinstatement of Earl Haig Road involves the earthworks for the collapsed section, layer works, stabilisation of the base course, and milling of the existing asphalt surface layer. After completion of the stabilised base, the road will be surfaced with asphalt as a final layer”.

“Minor challenges on the project have been encountered including the temporary water main pipeline that will affect progress as the water department has to relay the permanent pipeline before the final surface layer. Business forums and other affected stakeholders were addressed before the start of the project. Regarding progress of repairs, the earthwork on the collapsed section has been completed with the stabilisation of the base course,” the municipality said in June last year.

The sinkhole in Earl Haig Road, Morningside that forced the closure of the road between Ashby Road and Valley View Road. I SHELLEY KJONSTAD Independent Newspapers

Chetty said that last year the sinkhole was filled without fixing the pipe and then another department tarred the road and painted lines on it even though water visibly seeped through.

She said when the matter was raised the reply was: “It’s not our job to fix pipes”.

“The poor workmanship resulted in the pipes bursting again. The undersoil washed away again. The sinkhole reformed bigger than before cracks down the road. The municipality returned after much pressure from residents, fixed the pipes and left the sinkhole as is.”

Chetty said Earl Haig Road road has been cordoned off with no repair work under way for almost a year.

The Sunday Tribune has queried the matter and the municipality said it would respond as soon as possible. However, internal municipal correspondence seen by the Sunday Tribune indicate that the matter will be finalised through Section 36 in which the council can effect repairs without going through the normal tender process as the matter is considered an emergency.

Sunday Tribune