Flood pumps issue left hanging

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Documents still not signed, one year later

A YEAR after the late Derek Victor donated new floodwater pumps for the Medolino valley to Ndlambe Municipality, the municipality has still not signed the paperwork taking ownership of the pumps.

ON THE RECORD: A year ago, Ndlambe mayor Phindile Faxi gratefully accepted two new pumps from Derek Victor, the later owner of Medolino Caravan Park owner, to alleviate future flooding in the Medolino valley Picture: JON HOUZET

Victor died on October 12 last year, a week after he handed the pumps over to mayor Phindile Faxi, who gratefully accepted them and assured Victor he would expedite the matter for the municipality to take formal ownership of the pumps – even before the end of that month. This did not happen.

NEW PROBLEM: A pipe from the old pumps at Medolino broke last week, and the water which poured out caused a dune to collapse. The pipe was fixed but the fear is that the water-bearing pipe is now suspended in the air and will collapse under its own weight if the matter is not rectified Picture: ANITA VICTOR

The Medolino valley has been one of the areas of Port Alfred hardest hit by flooding over the years, especially during the 2012 floods, when water rose to the roofs of houses in Hards Street and Stewart Road as well as destroying most of the Medolino Caravan Park.

The municipality owns two older pumps in the park and is responsible for their maintenance, but as they were aging and sometimes inoperative, Victor installed two new pumps at his own cost. He had terminal cancer, and the pumps were his parting gift not only to the municipality but to all residents of the valley who have been affected by flooding.

Victor hoped the signing of paperwork by the municipality would be a formality soon taken care of, and that his widow Anita would not have to worry about the pumps. But a year later, nothing has been signed.

Another problem surfaced at Medolino last week when the pipe from the old pumps broke and water poured out, collapsing a dune over which the outlet pipe rests. The landslide of wet sand covered the floor of the pumphouse, posing a hazard to the machinery there.

Anita said the municipality had come to fix the pipe but it was still leaking. “It means the dune will keep on eroding,” she said.

“Another problem is you cannot have water-bearing pipes suspended in the air without support – they would eventually bend and collapse under their own weight.”

The collapsed dune pushed wet sand into the pumphouse.

In response to TotT’s queries about the broken pipe and collapsed dune, municipal spokesman Cecil Mbolekwa said: “The issue of the burst pipe for the old pumps pumping [water] at Medolino has been addressed last week, but the pipe will be supported accordingly as the sand keeps on eroding. For the meantime the municipality will keep on fixing the pipes until a permanent solution will be done.”

Neither Faxi nor Mbolekwa responded to repeated requests for comment about the municipality’s failure to sign the documents taking ownership of the donated pumps.

Subsequent to this, the municipality has issued a statement, giving reasons for the delay in taking ownership. The statement is published verbatim below:

This is our reply with regard to the Medolino pump station

The mayor has received the pumps and the appreciation has been done by council after the mayor has accepted the donation, the formal process was to take the project to council for adoption of which it was adopted. There were certain processes to be followed after the item was adopted by council so that the process of agreement is finalised

  1. In the last financial year, the municipality did not budget for the land surveyor
  2. That there was also a process of liaising with the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism in regard to environmental issues on the process to be followed for adherence with the legislation.
  3. That the two pumps be recorded on the assets register of the municipality
  4. Part of the resolution was that the land surveyor be commissioned to undertake the survey and prepare the necessary diagram/s for the creation and registration of a servitude relating to the pumps and electrical cables traversing a portion of Erf 283 situated in Hards street, Port Alfred and liaise with Council’s legal advisers to prepare a Notarial Deed of Servitude Agreement in favour of the Municipality and to record the affected area against the relevant Title Deed/sin terms of the Deeds Registries Act 47 of 1937 as amended.

In conclusion these are the processes that had to be effected before the agreement is signed by the Municipality or the Mayor

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