Waking up to the smell of raw waste on a daily basis and unable to do anything about it is the reality faced by residents of Mthuma and Ntshawu streets in Lower Crossroads.
Desperate residents said the blocked pipes were a huge problem and that their streets were flooded with raw sewage just about every day.
Zukiswa Mafilika said the local councillor had tried to help them, and the City of Cape Town workers had been out to fix the problem, but it was a recurring issue for residents.
She said they suspected that the infrastructure couldn’t cope with the increasing amount of waste as the number of people living in the area rose.
“The area has grown tremendously. The City should know that and change the system. We cannot live like this during this time of Covid-19. This is smelly and unbearable,” she said. “We are desperate for help as raw sewage affects our lives and those of our children. You have seen them playing in this and some drinking from this. This is so unhealthy.”
A frustrated Jerry Mzimba who stays right at the corner where the overflowing drain that floods his yard is situated, said he had stopped complaining because there was no help from the City.
He shared his neighbour’s sentiment that the sewerage system needed upgrading. “There is no way that the City does not see that this drainage system cannot take it any longer. The bad thing is that children play here.
“The terrible stench does not allow you to open your doors and windows. This is the life we live. Imagine this in summer. It will be terrible,” he said.
He said of the more than 10 years he had been living in the area, the past five years had been terrible, due to the sewage spills which were particularly bad in winter.
Nontombi Madela said residents were concerned about the health risks for their families. “We ought to get help but it is not coming. If it will come, it will be 10 years down the line,” she told Vukani.
When Vukani visited the area, residents had placed tyres in the middle of the road to create a pathway to walk on and avoid stepping in the sewage. Children and dogs, however, seemed less interested in avoiding contact with the foul effluent.
Vukani contacted the City of Cape Town about the residents’ concerns, but by the time this story was published, they had not responded.