500 families wait for drains to be emptied


Pietermaritzburg municipality admits to maintenance problem

Photo of woman in yard
Phindile Mkhize said when waste runs into her yard she leaves it until it dries out. Photo: Nompendulo Ngubane

Residents of Imbali in Pietermaritzburg say their drains have not been pumped out by the municipality since 2017.

Toilets in the houses drain into an outside sewerage system which the municipality is supposed to clean out regularly with “honey suckers”.

In 2018 residents of Snathing and of France location experienced the same problem of drains not being emptied. The problem has still not been solved.

Msunduzi spokesperson Ntobe Ngcobo acknowledged that the system had not been maintained “due to limited resources”.

“The municipality has to procure the services of external companies. A decision has been made for an allocation of funding. As soon as that gets done, we will empty the tanks. We appeal for patience from the members of the community, while the matter is receiving attention,” said Ngcobo.

Nearly 500 households are affected according to ward councillor Thamsanqa Sithole.

Resident Khombisile Mjwara says the drain outside her house gets full every week and spills over to neighbours’ houses. “There is a smell all over the area,” complains Mjwara.

She said her grandchildren emptied the outside drain using five-litre buckets which they had to carry far away to empty out.

“That is not the life we chose to live. The last time we had a municipal truck to empty the toilets was in 2017,” said Mjwara.

Her neighbour Phindile Mkhize said when waste runs into her yard she leaves it until it dries out. “I can’t blame my neighbour for what is happening. I also have a drain but I decided to dig a hole behind the house. The waste from the toilet runs into the hole in the backyard. It is saddening to see my neighbour’s young grandchildren carrying buckets full of waste.”

Zinzi Biyase said waste from her neighbour’s drain flowed through her kitchen. She said she had been forced to shut down her business of selling fast food. “People could not continue buying our food. There is always a smell. Flies are everywhere.”

“The only solution is regular visits by the truck to empty the drains,” said Biyase.

She said she would not vote in the May elections. “What is the use of voting while we are living in such a mess? No one cares, the best way is to be selfish with our votes,” she said.

Ward councillor Thamsanqa Sithole said it was not true that the drains had not been emptied since 2017. The trucks had come in September 2018, he said.

Sithole said the deputy mayor had promised to try to find a solution.

“There is an issue of revenue,” he said.

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TOPICS:  Government Sanitation

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