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Electricity pole stuck smack in the middle of new road

Image: Peter Ramothwala

A newly tarred R10.5m road has an electricity pole stuck right in the middle of it.

But municipality officials in Lebowakgomo, Limpopo, say it is not a crisis.

The tarring of the road from Zone S to Zone Q Lebowakgomo started in May and was scheduled to be completed and operating by October 22.

The Lepelle-Nkumpi municipal spokesperson Khali Maphoso yesterday told Sowetan the situation was "not that bad because the road is not officially opened".

"We have written to Eskom applying for the electric pole to be removed and the process is underway. The completed road will be open in the next two months," he said.

However, Maphoso failed to respond when asked who was going to pay the costs for the removal of the pole.

He also couldn't explain why the pole wasn't removed before tar was laid around it.

"I will respond when I get to the office," he said.

Eskom provincial manager Dikgabane Rampedi denied receiving any correspondence from the municipality regarding the pole.

"I heard from my staff members that there is a situation in Lebowakgomo. That is how I got to learn about the situation there - when the project had just been completed," he said.

Project papers seen by Sowetan state that the consulting engineer, Bawelile Construction Engineering, was paid R2,1m for the road design.

Another firm, PJMJ Engineering and Plant Hire, was paid R8.4m to build the road.

Both Bawelile and PJMJ could not be reached for comment as their office lines rang unanswered.

Rampedi told Sowetan Eskom had not even been part of the stakeholders when the project started.

"When these kinds of projects start, every stakeholder, traditional leaders, Eskom, Telkom, business people and environmentalists get invited.

Rampedi said removing the pole will mean that power will have to be interrupted for the whole day. He said the municipality would have to pay Eskom to resolve the issue.

DA councillor Fani Tsela said they would reject any resolution seeking to make the municipality pay to fix the mess.

"We are not going to allow people who lack monitoring to continue looting our funds. This project is also an irregular expenditure; in July, the auditor-general found that the request for quotation was not sent out at least 14 days before the closing date," Tsela said.

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