Resident Mpumi Simani, 24, says over the past week residents in Albert Shweni Street (NY28) have had to deal with the stench of raw sewage and resorted to using buckets as they were unable to flush their toilets.
“The drain was overflowing and the water pushed up into our yards. We could not use our toilet for almost a week because the water would not go down, so we had to use buckets and it is very unhealthy,” Mpumi says.
“I contacted the City of Cape Town and they said we must wait for 48 hours, but we waited longer than that. This is not the first time this has happened and it started at the beginning of the year. Every time they fix it and it just happens again.”
Mawethu Gantsho, 59, chairperson of the street committee, says the force of the poo water caused the heavy drain cover to burst open.
“A four-year-old boy nearly fell inside because the cover was open,” he says.
Area Central Mayco member, Siyabulela Mamkeli, confirms the blockage was cleared yesterday, but says this manhole is the lowest on the pipeline.
“Any blockages on the line will cause an overflow at this manhole. This is a newly installed pipeline (commissioned in 2012) and therefore has no structural defects,” he explains.
“Due to the extremely high volumes of rags and other inappropriate items regularly removed from this pipeline, the City has added it to our programme of proactively cleaned pipelines.
“Although this will improve conditions, the risk of blockages/overflows remains so long as inappropriate items are allowed to enter the sewerage system.”
He adds: “Direct contact with this water carries increased risk of infection, especially gastroenteritis, upper respiratory issues and skin infections. The City advises residents to exercise caution and seek medical advice if direct contact with the effluent occurs.”