Search for help after fall leaves pensioner drained

Gerald Brown, 63, from Portland, fell into this drain more than a month ago.

A Portland pensioner has been sent from pillar to post to claim for reparations after he fell into a drain in Town Centre more than a month ago.

It also took close to seven weeks to have the drain closed.

On Thursday April 21 the drain was still uncovered and filled with rubbish. It had a terrible stench and flies were buzzing around it when the Plainsman met Gerald Barron, 63, who was injured alongside the Woolworths building, next to the informal traders, just before 3pm on Friday March 4.

“All I want is for this drain to be covered and to be compensated for my injury and suffering incurred,” he said.

Trader Galick Adams, who had seen Mr Barron fall, said that when the Town Centre gets busy and there is a crowd, one cannot look down and see any obstacles on the ground.

He said the drain had been uncovered since before the national Covid-19 lockdown in 2020.

Mr Barron immediately reported his fall to the transport interchange office and was given a reference number.

The next day Mr Barron was examined by Dr Ellapen Rapiti, who in a medical report said that he had bruised his left shoulder, pulled a muscle, bruised his right knee and scraped his lower back.

“He was not sent for X-rays as his injuries seemed to be soft tissue. He might experience pain in the shoulder much later due to the impact,” read the report.

At the interchange he was told to report to the City of Cape Town’s Rocklands council yard, who then sent him to the Khayelitsha District office.

At his wits’ end and concerned that the drain had still not been covered, he contacted the Plainsman who asked the City about compensation.

On Thursday April 21, the City replied: “Be kindly advised that the drain has been confirmed as a private drain belonging to the Town Centre.”

That afternoon the drain was covered with the imprint of the municipality.

Mr Barron went to see the Mitchell’s Plain Town Centre Improvement District (MPTCID) office on Friday April 22, who then told him to consult Bordiss Properties, the building management agents, adjacent to the drain.

MPTCID chairman Bradley Bordiss, also owner of Bordiss Properties, has committed to helping Mr Barron file a claim against the City, who will then claim from insurance.

“I have offered to assist him in any claim that he may have,” he said.

Mr Bordiss said Mr Barron fell on a public thoroughfare adjacent to the Woolworths building, not tenanted by the retailer, just named after it at the time the sectional title was formed, in the construction of the central business district (CBD).

He said that Town Centre had specific clauses in many of the title deeds, or other documents relating to the properties in the CBD, which reserved the portion of the property adjacent to the building as being for “public use (that is as part of public thoroughfare)”.

Mr Bordiss contacted his lawyer who advised that while these thoroughfares were not specifically dealt with in the title deeds, it was the opinion that this public use area formed part of the council walkways.

“I know that the city council has had a problem with drain covers in Town Centre, Mitchell’s Plain, which have been stolen for their scrap metal value,“ he said.

On February 2 his office had sent the City an email asking them to replace certain manhole covers.

The Plainsman had also spotted and reported other open drains in public open spaces in Town Centre.

At the time of going to print, the City had failed to answer follow-questions about Mr Barron’s claim and the closure of other drains and man holes in the CBD.