Thugs scare municipal workers away from broken township drains

Drain in Soweto-on-Sea took months to fix

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Photo of people crossing stream of sewage
Children cross a stream of sewage in Soweto-on-Sea, Port Elizabeth. Photo: Mkhuseli Sizani

For three months, raw sewage overflowed into a street in Soweto-on-Sea in Port Elizabeth, with municipal workers reluctant to come and fix the drains because of attacks by robbers.

The broken drain at the corner of Mqwashu Street has finally been fixed, but residents say the smell persists.

The attacks on municipal workers started in Soweto-on-Sea last October. Two weeks ago the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality embarked on an awareness campaign after a municipal sewerage team was robbed at gunpoint in Katyu Street in Zwide last month.

Ward councillor Kholekile Bhoqwana said thugs were making the residents suffer.

“The attacks on municipal workers by thugs have brought fear to the municipal workers. As a result the residents get affected.”

Neighbouring ward councillor Zoliswa Dlula said, “It is hard for municipal workers to come to Soweto-on-Sea and fix the blocked drains. As a result the entire township is filthy with overflowing drains.

“Last year on two occasions municipal workers were robbed of their cellphones and wallets. Since then they have never wanted to come here unless I escort them. The whole township is dirty.”

Soweto-on-Sea resident Amanda Lukwe said, “We don’t deny that here in Soweto-on-Sea sewerage workers are being targeted. But in this case it’s negligence because we have been sitting with this problem for too long.”

Another resident, Vuyiswa Thyolo, said children played in the sewage. “They think they are playing at the beach. We are in and out of the clinic because our kids are sick.”

“When we flush our toilets, the poo comes back. A drain gets fixed, but after a month it gets blocked, and it will take more than three months to be fixed again.”

Kholiswa Mkhehle said the drain is often blocked. “It only functions for two months and gets blocked again … It is even hard to get in and out of my house. I have to tip toe on rocks.”

TOPICS:  Government Sanitation

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