Where are the gabions?

Erosion on the Lourens River.

Klaus Eickelmann, Somerset West

I recently read in the Bolander of Wednesday January 8 your article, “Moments”, featuring a section of the Lourens River at Radloff Park. This has prompted me to send you a photo taken outside the Bizweni Church property, which is next door to Lourens River Estate, where I live. 

As you are probably aware, the City of Cape Town appointed a contractor not so long ago to construct gabions in various places to help redirect the water flow. So far, these measures seem to have achieved the desired effect, at least for the time being. There is, however, one portion of the embankment, mostly outside the Bizweni Church, which did not get any gabion protection, and this is where the erosion, following the big downpour in October, can clearly be seen in the picture. 

I personally fear, if nothing is done soon, that large sections of the unprotected embankment, including the fence and gate structures, will get washed away during the next rainy season. The contractor maintains that they have done what they were meant to do and the Municipality appears to have run out of funds. I emphasise that this is information I received from third parties. 

I wonder whether you would be kind enough to come to our estate and to have a look for yourself. Perhaps an article in the Bolander might be the right encouragement for the authorities to acknowledge the potentially serious situation and to do something about it?

Xanthea Limberg, City of Cape Town mayoral committee member for water and waste, responds: 

The City is aware of the gravity of the situation raised in the trailing mail. 

The previous phase of the work to stabilise the banks of the river was completed in October 2018. The rumour that funds ran out is incorrect. The work was always intended to be done incrementally as budget was made available. 

This City is in the process of finalising the award of the tender for the next phase of the flood alleviation work in the river, which is worth in excess of R40 million. A number of delays were experienced in the procurement process. However, the City is optimistic that the next phase of work will begin by the end of February. 

Should all go according to plan the project will be completed in about two years (80 weeks).  

The intention is to address the section of the river referred to in (Mr Eickelmann’s letter) as part of this phase of construction.