• Eastern Cape Rising Sun

Berea locals unhappy about conduct of fibre optic company

By Khuthala Nandipha

The multimillion-rand fibre optic network installation project has kickstarted in Berea this March, amid growing concern of damage to the Metro’s infrastructure and personal property over the last six months of the project’s rollout in Buffalo City.

One of the leading companies out of three in this project, Telelanga, has blocked any attempts from this paper to respond to the claims that they leave pavements and driveways in an atrocious state after digging trenches for the installations. Some locals have welcomed the idea of faster and more reliable internet to their homes and businesses; however, some are concerned about the impact of infrastructural damage. Some locals have threatened to cut the cables as soon as the project has been completed.

Berea is mostly serviced by the Gauteng based company, which recently ‘finished’ work in Cambridge and Chislehurst, leaving behind disgruntled home owners with burst water pipes and a falling fence. One of our readers claims that her pipes were hit twice and their household was without water for hours. She claims that she was not assisted by the workers or the supervisors on site. She added that the contractors were difficult and required the home owner to send a report and photographs.

“Some claim that they work for Telkom, although the Telelanga signage is hung on their nets. These contractors believe that they are doing us a favour and we must just grin and bare it. They forget that we are going to have to pay for their services and the wastage,” she said.

Witnesses claim to have seen electricity cables being stolen from the open and deserted trenches. The Buffalo City Metro said it is aware of the mess created by the digging of trenches by some of these companies, however, spokesperson for the Metro, Samkelo Ngwenya advised residents to direct their queries to the companies.

A Cambridge resident confirmed that Telelanga has finished doing work in his area but have not yet filled the trenches despite numerous requests. In Sprigg street, a resident is considering taking legal action after his water pipes were damaged five weeks ago.

At the beginning of March, Lungisile Sibaca of Hart Road in Chislehurst filed a complaint with a person only known as ‘Vivian’, a local representative of Telelanga about his burst water pipe and collapsing fence. He was promised that an inspection will be conducted.

“Nothing happened so I prohibited them from working outside my house and I removed their netting. When they returned to work, I told the contractor that I am opening a case with the police for damage to property. The next morning, I took a day off to go to the station, then suddenly municipal vehicles arrived to fix the problem,” he said.

Dorian Kensley, Telelanga's Regional Project Manager, refused to answer any enquiries and promised to take the matter up with their legal team. He then blocked all communication from this newspaper. ‘Vivian’, currently based in Berea has also blocked all our numbers.

The company is facing an ‘urgent interdict’ at the East London High court to have their work halted for contravening numerous areas of good business. The matter is currently under consideration by the court.

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