Fury as pit hole swallows man in Pretoria West

Pretoria – Angry residents of Pretoria West yesterday blocked Charlotte Maxeke Street after a man fell into a pit hole on Saturday morning.

He was trapped for several hours and had to be pulled out with blood coming out of his nose and ears.

At about 5am on Saturday a resident heard the screams and went out to try to save the man. The residents said they were fast asleep but woken up by a man screaming for his life from inside the hole, believed to have been dug by the City for maintenance in November last year.

The man was bleeding badly but still trying to swim to stay afloat. Most of his body was covered by dirty water. He was eventually pulled out.

The resident said they were furious the hole had been left open for more than four months.

Resident Michael Mika said: “This hole is mostly rock at the bottom; it was dug up with a supportive electronic machine. We hope the man is alive because he was hurt very badly when he was taken to hospital.”

Residents said despite complaining several times about the danger the hole posed to the lives of their children and adults walking to work early in the mornings, all they received were numerous reference numbers.

Yesterday they blocked the road with stones that came from the hole. Traffic was backed up from early in morning until City workers arrived to remove the stones, while traffic officers redirected the traffic.

Gerada Flat resident Fundiswa Faleni said: “Our flats have at least 20 children living with their parents. We walk around this hole every day and see the soil on the side eroding, extending the size of of the hole. This hole is literally just at the gate to our flats. We knew it was a matter of time before it hurt somebody.

“No soil is keeping up the pavement’s concrete blocks. You could accidentally step on it and plunge in because the soil keeps eroding. That’s why we blocked this road. Cars are always speeding on the road we don’t have safe passage because the sand and rocks from the hole were piled up in the walking space.”

City spokesperson Lindela Mashigo said the excavation had been duly demarcated. There was a serious problem with the municipal sewer on Charlotte Maxeke Street and the cause was still unknown.

“Teams have tried to clear the line, but have been unsuccessful. Having been installed in 1934, it may have collapsed. As a result of the complexity of the pipeline, we are obtaining quotations from professional contractors that also utilise trench-less methods. The City was treating the matter as urgent.”

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