EC residents seek govt intervention in sanitations problems

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Residents of Old Location in Elliot in the Eastern Cape want government intervention in addressing sanitation problems they are experiencing in the area.

Raw sewage from blocked and burst pipes gets in their yards and houses, causing an unbearable stink to the whole township.

They claim they have reported the matter to their ward councillor whom they accuse of not taking their grievances seriously.

Raw sewage is scattered in each and every street at the Old Location township in Elliot, with each household having sewage passing through.

The whole area stinks like sewage which residents believe is a health hazard to them and their children.

Some houses are damp and stinky, while others are on the verge of collapse. Residents have now resorted to opening holes at the bottom of their walls so that the water can pass through.

They are blaming the Chris Hani District Municipality which is responsible for water and sanitation, saying they’ve been raising the issue for the past five years but in vain.

A resident says, “We used to use brooms and buckets to sweep the water out but we got tired because this doesn’t stop.”

“This whole sewage situation doesn’t sit well with us even when we eat we have to endure the smell of sewage in the house,” says another resident.

Another resident adds, “My house is on the verge of collapse because of the water. My other house also collapsed last year.”

They are now calling for the government to build them proper houses.

“I have been here since 1992. We’ve been promised houses but nothing has been done. the only thing we want now is for RDP houses,” says a resident.

Another resident says, “We need houses. We have been voting for years but we don’t benefit. Our councillors fail us.”

There are also residents who claim that they contracted TB and other diseases due to the conditions under which they live.

“Both my wife and i are on TB treatment. We were healthy when we came to stay in this area in 2006.”

Another resident says, “Our children are always sick here because of this sewage. We breathe sewage here.”

“My child had some rash and I took him to the doctor who confirmed that it’s because of the water he drinks and the area we reside in. even my other daughter was infested with worms and the same doctor said it’s the water we drink and the place we stay in is very dirty,” says another resident.

Chris Hani district Municipality claims the sanitation problem in the area is historic.

They claim that residents built their houses on top of sewage pipes passing through the area.

Water and sanitation unit manager Siyabulela Zangqa says plans are afoot to revitalise the dying infrastructure in the area.

“People then moved from rural areas to town. When they came here they built their houses on top of the infrastructure and that caused a serious problem. Our pipes are not supposed to be disturbed and as such now not making the free flow of everything that is supposed to go. We do have discussions with the department of human settlement. We are going to acquire a space where we are going to request the people that are living in this particular area to go into that space and after that we are going to make it a point that we revamp this infrastructure.”

The municipality claims a contractor has already been appointed to fix the blocked and leaking sewage pipes at Old Location.