Open manhole is an accident waiting to happen

A drain in Uitenhage has stood uncovered for two months, say residents

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Photo of a man next to an open manhole
Sinethemba Makile, standing next to the open drain, said, “The boys call it a swimming pool … They make us live in fear.” Photo: Thamsanqa Mbovane

Residents of Peace Village in KwaNobuhle, Uitenhage, say they live in fear of a tragedy because of an overflowing, open manhole.

The uncovered drain, situated on the corner of Nqilo and Thuthula Streets, goes down about three metres.

“We threw rocks in there to make it less deep,” said Zizi Nqoloba.

“The problem started two months ago when municipal workers arrived, saying the drain was overflowing so they took off its lid and left it uncovered like that. We reported it to the office of the councillor several times.

“We assume that the water comes from the Peace Village reservoir. At night, people could stumble and drown in there,” said Nqoloba.

He said children play in the area after school and some youngsters dip themselves in the cool water.

“I chase them away but they always sneak back. Other children, who are as little as four years old, also want to dip themselves in there. They learn from the bigger ones,” said Nqoloba.

Resident Albert Tosisi said: “We reported it long ago … Yesterday, I drove past it and saw a group of naked boys dipping themselves in there.”

Spokesperson for the mayor George Geleba said: “We will find out what transpired that led to people being exposed to such a danger. We will have it covered soon.”

Ward 47 Councillor Nonthuthuzelo Skweyiya (ANC) promised to follow up the matter. “We can’t expose children to danger,” she said.

TOPICS:  Government Sanitation Water

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