This weekend Rondebosch East residents were abuzz after a motorist unwittingly became entrenched in a sinkhole. The sinkhole opened up early Saturday afternoon on the corner of Burwood and Gordon Road after a Kia Picanto entered the intersection. While the sinkhole only opened up on Saturday, residents say that a traffic cone was placed on the area after a pothole began to surface. Aside from the expected shock that accompanies such an event, the motorist is thankfully unharmed.
To understand the circumstances that surround the surfacing of a sinkhole and the process of claiming from the City, VOC spoke to mayoral committee member for Utility Services in the City of Cape Town, councillor Ernest Sonnenberg.
Sonnenberg explains that while the investigation into the Rondebosch East sinkhole incident is not complete, the council suspects that the sinkhole may have opened up as a result of a rupture around one of the sewer lines.
He says that the sewer line may have overtime disintegrated, consequently weakening the top surface around the area.
“We obviously could not pick this up. So a void starting to form, so there was obviously there was nothing supporting it. So when the vehicle drove over it, it then collapsed,” he added.
In light of concerns of new sinkholes opening up, Sonnenberg affirms that he is only aware of one other incident in 2014 in which a sinkhole opened.
“We looked at our records as far back to 2006 and we only had one other [sinkhole opening]. I have spoken to senior engineers and they say that in the time that they have worked for the City it has never happened, other than the 2014 incident.”
Sonnenberg notes that once the investigation is complete, the exposed pipe and the surface area are scheduled to be repaired.
“After that we will send a robotic crawler down the entire pipeline to inspect if there are any other fractures or weak points within the pipe,” Sonnenberg continued.
Considering the damage that the vehicle may have incurred, he explains that generally individuals, who incur damage due to the City’s negligence, would be required to complete a public liability form, which can be found on the City’s website.
Alternatively, Sonnenberg says that claimants may claim directly from their private car insurance, which will in turn claim from the City.
The form may be allocated on the city’s website, at https://www.capetown.gov.za.
He further urges residents to report any structural concerns with City infrastructure to 0860103089.