Residents of the coastal town of Kenton-on-Sea and surrounding informal settlements in the Eastern Cape are concerned about their health following years of complaints about an inadequate sewerage system.
Although upgrades are under way, the frustrated community says COVID-19 has made things even more difficult.
One of the waterworks sewerage system was designed for the processing of grey water only.
With the mushrooming of informal settlements, raw sewage is now a big factor, something the sewerage system cannot process.
Deputy Chairperson of the Ekuphumleni Development Forum Zach Ngxingo says the situation is harmful to the people that live in the area and the environment.
“We have a river that is very sensitive this side and if we have raw sewerage being dumped into the river, we can expect that the flora and fauna and marine life will suffer. There are people who stay next to this plant who are affected every day. That will result in the health of the people being compromised and I don’t know how many cases we might have in the area, but for sure there have been many complaints from the people.”
The processed sewage gets pumped into the local eco-system.
Local resident Monwabisi Njajula says even though the local municipality has been contacted, nothing has happened.
Some residents in RDP houses don’t have toilet structures.
Another local resident Kholiswa Ngesi says she struggles with her grandmother’s health.
“We got here in 1989, we lived in shacks until they built us houses. What they didn’t do is build toilets so we had to dig a hole outside. My granny is very old and struggles to walk to the toilet. It became even harder when she was infected with COVID–19, she had it really bad.”
Spokesperson of the Ndlambe Municipality Khululekile Molekwa says that the municipality is aware of the situation.
“The plant is currently being refurbished. Therefore, the wastewater treatment works are currently being bypassed to the maturation pond to be provisionally treated. The refurbishment project requires emptying of the aerobic treatment portion of the wastewater treatment works to provide access to mechanical equipment. The appointed contractor is working with the Ndlambe Municipality to contain the impact that the refurbishment program could have on the environment and specifically the Kariega river. This includes the management and treatment of the effluent stream for the duration of the refurbishment,” says Molekwa.
The municipality says the refurbishments are projected to be completed by the end of February.