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Dept of COGTA to assist those struggling with poor sewerage systems

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The national Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) says it’s committed to assist municipalities struggling with poor sewerage systems.

In Mpumalanga, a number of municipalities have been guilty of violating the Environmental Management Act and polluting water resources.

These municipalities are plagued by sewage spillages that flow into water resources, on the streets and in residents’ yards.

The Govan Mbeki Municipality has been dealing with this issue for a number of years.

COGTA minister Thembi Nkadimeng has handed over two sewage pump stations to the eMbalenhle township, in Secunda, to help alleviate the problem.

Sewage spillages is a constant headache, leaving residents sick and frustrated. Secunda has been dealing with sewage spillages for years.

As the sewage treatment plant and pump stations were dysfunctional. Jane Ndlovu says the spillages have taken a toll on their lives.

“My six-year-old daughter has been sick from the tender age, she has rash, the doctor has told me is caused by the environment we live in, it’s dirty. The manhole is always spilling, and the stench is unbelievable.”

Ndlovu is not alone. Other residents are also concerned and are calling for help.

“When the manholes are overflowing, we can’t flash our toilets. You have to open windows and there is a smell from outside too,” a resident says.

“When there’s a spillage and it’s windy, you can’t sit outside or eat,” another resident adds.

The Govan Mbeki Municipality was taken to court and held liable earlier this year, for polluting water resources and the environment.

It has since fixed the sewage pump stations at a cost of R33 million. While COGTA is pleased with the progress, it has urged municipalities to repair and maintain municipal infrastructure.

“Two have been completed and are in operation, in fact in our assessment with Misa at national we then gave additional R20 million to the municipality. You’d recall that we also following through the court order not only in Govan Mbeki, but there are also about six municipalities which are struggling with compliance. We can gladly say Govan Mbeki has almost turned the corner and will be out of that,” says Thembi Nkadimeng, Minister of Cogta.

The department says it will also assist the municipality with its electricity challenges to ensure adequate service delivery.

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