Drain blockage angers residents

Concerned Elias Ofisi showing the challenge they face as residents.

Nyanga hostel residents have complained that the government is not willing to help address the stench emanating from a nearby drain and the fact that it is regularly blocked.

The drain also spills raw sewage into the hostel’s yard.

The residents living in Boshat Hostels, in the busy Mila Street, claimed that this was the fourth week they have been subjected to the foul smell, with the effluent overflowing into some homes as well. When Vukani arrived at the place on Monday March 20, an angry-looking Elias Ofisi pointed out that children, who played in the water, were getting sick or had rashes on their skin.

“I think the problem is bigger than we saw. This problem has been happening for more than 20 years now. I am not an expert but I suspect that the pipes that are used here are smaller. People I speak to also conceded that the system is old and it needs to be changed.

“When this happened years ago, our former councillor told us it will need millions to change the system. It was a surprise to us. But we really need help here,” he said.

He suggested that the municipality install new, bigger pipes.

Mr Ofisi said the current councillor, Khaya Yozi, promised to help but had since disappeared.

“We must take children to the clinics now and then. Our situation is bad here. But I guess the numbers of people living around here are too many. We need a new system,” he said.

A woman who sells meat nearby told Vukani that local businesses were suffering because customers were staying away from the area as a result of the odour.

“There is always faeces flying around here,” said the woman, who did not want her name in the paper.

“The biggest losers are us, vendors. It is sickening because no one has ever made an effort to explain the cause of the problem.

“But what annoys me is that we are losing money. One day the drain is right, the next day it is spilling raw faeces to us,” she added.

Mr Yozi admitted that the area faced challenges.

He, however, placed some of the blame on residents. “Yes the piping is small (and the number) of people is growing.

“The municipality has gone there and acknowledged that.

“The City was on the verge of looking to change all the pipes, not only there but in some other areas too. But people are also not helping the situation. They drop kimbies (Disposable nappies), sanitary towels, plastic and many other things in (the drains).

“People should refrain from that and be part of the solution,” he said.

Mr Yozi was also adamant that, in accordance with the City’s new Organisational and Development Plan (ODTP), all pipes would be upgraded, noting that while other areas like Cubungu Street had similar problems, people there were adhering to the municipality’s advice.

Siyabulela Mamkeli, mayoral committee member for area central said the City investigated the complaint, but that residents had told officials that the problem only occurred on Monday March 20 when the sewer line was blocked.

He said it has since been cleared.

“Since it was cleared, they have not experienced any problems and there is no indication of ponding water or overflowing sewage. Sewage overflows are almost always caused by a misuse of the system, that is when residents dispose of solids such as rags, rope, newspaper, wire, rubble etc. into the sewer system,” he said.

He said the pipeline in the area had been upgraded in the 2012/2013 financial year to increase the capacity and extend its lifespan.