The High Court in Pretoria has ordered the City of Tshwane to start repairing the massive sinkhole on Jean Avenue in Centurion immediately.
Judge Cynthia Pretorius yesterday granted an order in terms whereof the City agreed to a court order that it must start repairing the sinkhole today and must complete the work within the next six and a half months.
The City will also have to report once a month on the project’s progress to the court and to a group of business owners who have been severely negatively affected by the city’s failure to repair the sinkhole for the past nine months.
In addition, the City must completely close and safeguard the crossing and erect warning and road signs around the site.
Several restaurants, shopping centres and garages around the Jean Avenue crossing with Gerhard Street have joined forces to take the City to court after suffering massive losses in revenue.
The owner of the once thriving News Cafe, Gary Kanaris, was one of the applicants. He had to close down the popular restaurant last year after 17 years in the business because his revenue had fallen from about R1.5 million a month to a mere R200 000.
Jean Avenue, which links the N14 with the N1 highway, used to carry up to 50 000 cars a day, but was closed when the sinkhole appeared in the road nine months ago.
Attorney Jacques Classen, who represents seven of the businesses, said the crossing had no lights or proper markings and there had been several accidents, especially at night.
He said the closure of the busy crossing and the City’s failure to start repairing the sinkhole – about which the city had been warned for several years – despite repeated requests have had a massive knock-on effect on traffic and business in the whole surrounding area.
He said his clients have indicated that they intended suing the city for their loss of income caused by the delay in repairing the sinkhole.
Classen said the City had informed them that a contractor had already been appointed to start with the first phase of the repair work, but from what he had seen, not much had happened at the site so far.
Kanaris told reporters they were elated that the judge had ruled in their favor.
He said Jean Avenue would hopefully be up and running within the next six to seven months and they were quite excited to start moving forward.