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Don’t hold your breath

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For many years the Kenilworth subway has been plagued with constant flooding, while large potholes pockmark the road. And by all indications it seems that there is no end in sight to the problem.

The Kenilworth subway has been plagued by flooding and potholes and it seems there is no end in sight. Picture: Danie van der Lith

PROMISING plenty of fun, excitement and entertainment for young and old, the upcoming Yonder Hartsfees will be held from August 24-28 this year. That’s the good news.

However, for the second year in a row, access to the Hartsfees will only be from the direction of the N12 when turning into Hendrik Van der Bijl Road.

For many years the Kenilworth subway – a shorter route to Yonder, bypassing the busy N12 – has been plagued with constant flooding and large, deep, submerged potholes pockmark the road. And by all indications, it seems like the Sol Plaatje Municipality is casting a blind eye to the problem and has for years not made any effort to try and fix the problem.

The DFA has previously highlighted the problems at the Kenilworth subway and questioned the municipality about it, asking whether there was any solution forthcoming and if any repairs will be made to the road in preparation for the Yonder Hartsfees.

Sol Plaatje Municipal spokesperson Thoko Riet responded by saying that the underground water is a major contributing source. “We are currently busy inspecting the areas (subways) for any other visible leakages and burst pipes. We still caution motorists to drive carefully when crossing those areas,” she said at the time.

Riet previously said that a municipal team went out to assess the problem and found that there was a water pipe that was damaged by artisanal miners, but added that the underground water is playing a huge role.

“The municipality will send out the team to fix the burst pipe and once the water has subsided we will look at how best we can assist Yonder in preparation for the upcoming Hartsfees in August,” said Riet.

The DFA made a follow-up visit to the Kenilworth subway this week and, by all appearances, it seems as if nothing has been done regarding the situation there.

More water is now flowing under the bridge, making it even more difficult to drive there. It seems as if the organisers and attendees to the Hartsfees will have to learn to live with it, just like the rest of Kimberley has to learn to live with all the potholes and leaking pipes around town.

Isn’t that just a sad thought?

When the DFA spoke to Riet, she stated that the waterworks team went out to the site to assess the problem. “There are two pipelines in that area,” she said. “One is the De Beers line which is leaking, and the municipal pipeline which is also leaking.

“We will go out to fix our leak. However, De Beers will also have to send out their team to fix their leak as it is coming from within their property.

“Motorists should still be cautious when driving through that bridge,” she once again cautioned.

According to the surface mining manager at Ekapa Mining, Peter Hohne, the pipe in question was last used in 2019. “The pumps that supply those water pipes were vandalised and stolen by illegal miners back in 2019, and no water has been pumped in that direction since then,” Hohne said.

“Several large sections of pipe leading to the mine were vandalised, so there is no way that water can be in those pipes,” he explained.

According to Hohne, the mine at Kenilworth cannot be used due to the illegal miners in the area.

The looming questions now, like an elephant in the room, are: What should we be expecting from the Sol Plaatje Municipality? Should we expect them to just fix the leak, or should we dare to hope that they would also repair the road to such a degree that it will be usable for motorists hoping to attend the Hartsfees?

Only time will tell, but as things currently stand, nobody is holding their breath for a miracle.

The Kenilworth Subway has been plagued by flooding and potholes and it seems that there is no end in sight. Picture: Danie van der Lith

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