“I am living in a toilet,” says eThekwini resident

Residents want the municipality to fix a sewage leak which they say has been overflowing since early January

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Photo of dirty water
Residents of Lindelani C Section in Ezihlabathini say the eThekwini Municipality has ignored their pleas to fix a blocked drain where sewage has been overflowing since January. Photo: Nokulunga Majola

Residents of Lindelani’s C Section in Ezihlabathini say they are at their wits’ end over ongoing sewage spills around their homes. They are demanding that the eThekwini Municipality fix the sewage leak which they say has been overflowing since early January.

While residents believe their pleas for assistance have fallen on deaf ears, the municipality has blamed the community for blockages.

“We are constantly exposed to sewage spills and we are expected to carry on with our lives as if we are not affected by this problem,” said resident Thokozani Masikane.

He said residents are frustrated with the City’s lack of commitment and urgency to resolve the issue, which he claims poses a health concern. Masikane said he has contacted the municipality several times in an effort to get officials to attend to the problem but to no avail. “This problem has been ongoing for long enough and has become a serious health hazard especially for the children. We can’t even enjoy our meals anymore. I can’t even remember what food smells like,” he said.

Masikane showed GroundUp some of the WhatsApp and emails he has sent to the City. “All we get are useless reference numbers that we cannot do anything with. The leak started small, but now it has become worse. You can actually see human waste. How can we live like this? It’s worse for me because the sewage drain is in front of my house … I am living in a toilet,” said Masikane.

His neighbour, Mbali Gumede, said, “It is not okay for our families or kids to be exposed to such unhygienic conditions for days on end. It is clear that the City does not care about the community’s concerns regarding the sewage leak.”

Gumede said that besides the terrible stench, people could get sick from the sewage.

“We need an urgent solution. We cannot continue to live like this,” said Gumede.

On Friday, ​​​​eThekwini Municipality spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said that teams had been assigned to attend to the sewage leak. But on Monday morning, the sewage overflow had not been cleared.

Mayisela told GroundUp that the reason for the blockages was because residents disposed of “alien objects” in the drains. “We unblock and a day after we go back to square one. It will never be our intention to expose the public to raw sewage,” he said.

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TOPICS:  Sanitation

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