Choking on sewage fumes since 2014

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GK CRONJE

3 August 2022

One resident showed the Tribune a trench that he had to dig by his own means to divert the raw sewage from his residence.

Since 2014, residents in Extension 32 and 33 have had their lives changed by the constant overflow of raw sewage that impact their day to day activities. School children as young as 8 years old have to navigate a maze of pooled raw sewage, mixed with blood and animal entrails that plagues the community. The lack of a functioning sewerage network severely endangers the health of these residents, and the few sections of sewerage network are either blocked or overflowing. Some of the houses are ankle-deep in sewage, and are starting to sink away in the mushy mess. Others have had to improvise with makeshift walkways of plywood and heaps of soil to enter their yards.

On Wednesday, 27 July 2022, the Tribune followed up on complaints of residents residing in Extension 32, it was noted that a massive sewerage spillage is ongoing in the area. Meeting with one of the affected residents, the Tribune was shown various sites where raw sewerage flows freely into the yards and roadways. Additionally, one of the overflow sites also emanates blood from the blocked manhole, which presumably flows from the abattoir. At another site, entrails and blood can also be noted. The complainant noted that a section of sewerage pipe had been removed by Msukaligwa Local Municipality, and had never been replaced. Hence, a large amount of sewage flows directly from the missing section, and snakes between the houses.

The issue of sewage overflows in these extension has been ongoing for years, but have extensibly worsened since 2020. Complaints lodged with Msukaligwa Local Municipality resulted in the relevant municipal department stating that ‘they have no pipes’ to remedy the blockages and improve flow. Blood, entrails and raw sewage flows from at least five blocked sites in a small radius. Homes are swamped with overflow, and one resident showed the Tribune a trench that he had to dig by his own means to divert the raw sewage from his residence. “I am busy expanding my home, and once construction is completed, the groups of children that walk past my house will have to find another way to the school, or they have to jump over the pools of sewage. I have even lodged a complaint with my ward councillor, but to no avail. The councillor doesn’t even answer the phone anymore.”

An enquiry has been sent to the municipality, which was simply ignored.