Raw sewage swamps houses in Kraaifontein

City said it would fix the problem last week

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Photo of a woman pointing to raw sewage
Nobantu Mavata shows where sewage has been spilling out for two weeks. This picture was taken on 6 February. Photo: Vincent Lali

Last week faeces were gushing out of a damaged sewer drain in Bloekombos, outside Kraaifontein. Human waste and toilet paper dammed up in an open field next to people’s homes.

Mayoral Committee Member for Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Services Councillor Xanthea Limberg said the blockage was reported to the City of Cape Town on 1 February and teams would be sent to attend to it on 2 February. Plumbers closed the drain, but the mess was not cleaned up. On Tuesday morning, 6 February, residents told GroundUp the sanitation situation was intolerable.

Resident Nosiviwe Dyonase said she could no longer sit outside her house in Section 19 because of the stench. Nosicelo Kaleni said she cannot cope with the smell. She said it has been an ongoing problem for many years.

In December, she returned home at about 7pm from Joubertsdaal Farm in Paarl, where she works as a grape picker, to find “my clothes floating on a dam of faeces and shitty water, and my sofas and other furniture dripping with excrement. I was shocked”.

She said such drain bursts have been a yearly occurrence.

Nosicelo Kaleni shows the hole her brother-in-law made to allow the sewage to drain out. Photo: Vincent Lali

Kaleni showed GroundUp a hole her husband’s brother had made in the wall of her house to allow the sewage to drain out.

She wants the City of Cape Town to place an enclosure around the drain to prevent residents from dumping objects in it.

Community leader Nobantu Mavata said the drain had been spewing out faeces for the past two weeks. She said she had reported it to the City.

Xolisa Khungwayo, chairman of Bloekombos Health Forum, said, “We want the City of Cape Town to replace the small pipes with big ones so that the drains don’t get damaged or blocked.”

Limberg responded to GroundUp: ‘Stormwater drains are blocked most of the time as, in many cases, backyarders dump their night soil buckets and grey water into the system.”

“The City does cleanse the area by covering the human faeces with sand and using disinfectant for the odour … Sometimes this is not done immediately because many of the cases are dealt with in the evening when it proves to be very difficult to complete the cleansing, especially with regard to collecting the sand. For this reason the team returns following day to cleanse the area.”

TOPICS:  Sanitation

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