Pietermaritzburg – An elderly Newlyn Road pensioner is “stressed beyond measure” after the municipality issued him with a notice of contravention letter following damage to his property caused by recent flash floods.
The land behind Lutchman Harichand’s (83) house collapsed towards his neighbour’s property under the force of the gushing water last month.
In a letter from Msunduzi Municipality, Harichand was instructed to obtain the services of a structural engineer.
Harichand said since it was an “act of God” he did not see why he was responsible for this.
The letter, sent to Harichand at the end of March, states that the municipality noted his boundary bank has become “dangerous” to his neighbour’s property and he had seven days to render the property safe or face “immediate prosecution”.
“I am a pensioner who did not purposely damage the land. With the heavy rains recently and my property being in the position it is in, the municipality should have a better drainage system to avoid these situations,” he said.
Harichund’s home is below the road level and is situated on a bend in Newlyn Road. “Because of the position my house is in, all the water from the road converges at the top of my driveway and gushes down my steep driveway,” he said.
Harichand has lived in his Newlyn Road home for five years and said he has already spent more than R12 000 creating his own drainage system and ways to redirect the water from entering his home. “I don’t think the municipality know the full story. I am hoping they will find a way to assist me when they know it was not my fault,” Harichand said.
However, Msunduzi Municipality acting spokesperson Nqobile Madonda said the land belongs to the owner of the property and not the municipality so the onus falls on Harichand to sort out the problem. She said the municipality’s decision stands and that Harichand will have seven days from the issuing of the letter to respond to them saying what he plans to do about the bank.
“If Mr Harichund does not inform our office of his intention, the matter will be forwarded to our enforcement unit for prosecution,” she said, adding the issue of stormwater drainage on Newlyn Road is dealt with by the Roads and Stormwater unit and Harichund should contact the department for assistance.