Lingering question on pumps

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A YEAR later, it remains a mystery why Ndlambe Municipality has still not taken ownership of two floodwater pumps donated by the late Derek Victor.

As related in our story on page 5, Victor installed the pumps at his own cost as the old pumps owned by the municipality were aging and unreliable. He frequently battled with the pumps which are meant to turn on in the event of flooding in the Medolino valley, and had to call the infrastructural department to attend to them.

Knowing the municipality lacked a capital budget to buy new pumps, Victor made the generous gesture of donating the new pumps – worth R450 000 – to the municipality. After fighting with the municipality for so many years, Victor was prompted by his own mortality looming large in his life, being in the final stages of terminal cancer.

With time running out, Victor hoped the formalities of signing documents with the municipality to take ownership could be dealt with as a matter of urgency. He did not want his widow Anita to have to deal with the situation.

Victor died the following week, and never got to see his last wish fulfilled.

TotT was there on October 5 last year, when Victor handed over the pumps to mayor Phindile Faxi, who gratefully accepted them, and said he had even cut short a visit to the Eastern Cape premier at the time to come and look at the pumps and accept them “on risk” before a formal record of decision was made.

He assured Victor he would table the matter in council, and then when Victor appealed him, the mayor undertook to push the matter even ahead of a council meeting later that month.

However, this was not to happen.

Victor died the following week, and never got to see his last wish fulfilled.

When a month passed, and then another, I started asking Faxi when the documents would be signed. At first the mayor answered me, assuring that it would be dealt with. Then he stopped replying to my emails.

I admit I also got tired of asking him, so I stopped. Anita Victor, meanwhile, has been saddled with the burden of these pumps being in limbo, not knowing who is responsible for them.

When another problem arose at Medolino last week – a pipe from the old pumps broke and a dune collapsed – and with the one-year anniversary of Derek Victor’s donation and then his death coming up, I decided to ask the mayor again about the pumps. At the time of going to press, he had not responded.

– Jon Houzet

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