Residents live in fear of mosquitoes

Young Inga Gumla who has eczema had to be bandaged all over because he scratches himself over and over.

Residents of Lower Crossroads have complained that stagnant water and a bush of reeds in the area have provided a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes which, they say, are making their lives hell.

Now residents have appealled to the City of Cape Town to help them get rid of the nasty blood-suckers.

When Vukani visited the area, our reporter was met by a huge crowd of people who were was concerned about their health and diseases the mosquitoes may be carrying. “It is a big problem to live here. I have been here for some years now but we have never experienced such mosquitoes,” said Liziwe Mhlombe, who belongs to the street committee.

“We find it difficult to sleep at night. It is worse for children, especially those with eczema,” she added. Ms Mhlombe said the problem started at the beginning of the year. “We have appealed to our councillor about this issue. We find it difficult to be stay indoors late at night. It is also tough outside. Where would we then go? There worst part is that even if one uses Doom, these things do not die. It (Doom) makes it difficult to sleep. Its smell is unbearable,” she said. Residents also claim that businesses are cashing in on their misery by hiking the cost of insecticides.

“The shop-owners have seized the opportunity while we are suffering. It is actually a shame from their side,” Ms Mhlombe said. A concerned mother, Zandi Penxa believes that if the City cleans the sewers, the problem won’t be so bad. “Every street has running water from sewer drainage. Surely this is but one cause. There is this bush of reeds that has stagnant water in it. That is a huge problem. This is where the municipality should come in. The City needs to cut the reeds and improve the old sewer system,” she said. Sindisiwe Mkhwanzi said she worried about her sickly sister. “I pity her. She has spots all over her arms and forehead. There is just nothing she can do. The only time she gets to rest is during day time. Something need to be done. I am scared of the diseases that we might get,” she told Vukani. Nandipha Rhacaza, whose one-year-old son Kungawo has eczema, said he scratches his mosquitoe bites “all the time”, which makes his eczema worse. Mayoral committee member for area south, Eddie Andrews said while residents could get skin rashes from mosquito bites, they should not be concerned about contracting anything as serious as malaria because Cape Town is not a favourable breeding environment for the female Anopheles, the mosquito that transmits malaria to humans.

However, he said City Parks would ensure it maintained their property to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes.

“This matter has already been brought to their attention. Our environmental health assistants will also spray the ponds and canals to mitigate the nuisance,” he said. “To some degree, this can be the case because any stagnant water provides a favourable breeding environment for mosquitoes. This is why it is important for the community to keep their areas clean or dispose of any waste water in an appropriate manner.”

Mr Andrews said the City also has a responsibility to clear all stormwater channels and remove any blockages to allow water to run off and not stagnate.

He said such blockages must be reported to the City for intervention. “We appeal to residents to not exacerbate the situation, water should be disposed of in a responsible manner,” he concluded. He appealed to residents to report any environmental health concerns to the local Environmental Health office or they can visit the Environmental Health office at Simonsig Road, Westridge, Mitchell’s Plain or Lower Crossroads residents can go and report such complaints at Phumlani Clinic in Ngqwangi Drive. Residents can call 021 392 8111/12 to lodge complaints.