Free State community up in arms over constant sewage spills

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Constant sewage spillages and poor water supply in Vergenoeg in Bethulie, in the southern Free State, have left residents up in arms.

Residents say they are being ignored by government. They have had to endure these infrastructural shortcomings for years; a burden affecting the elderly.

Resident Nkosinathi Shembele says the poor water supply gives them a lot of problems.

“We are suffering a lot with water and you will find that many people living there are old people. You can imagine old people waking up late at night to fetch water.”

Another resident Thandiswa Guga says the area has a water supply crisis.

“Our problem is water, we have a crisis of water also sewer is a problem. We don’t know what is going on with the municipality of Kopanong.”

Free State municipalities, including the Kopanong municipality, attribute the failure to unpaid services. Kopanong Municipality is currently paying its huge water debt to Bloem Water.

Kopanong Mnicipality manager, Martin Kubheka, says there will be uninterrupted water supply in a matter of time.

“We are just working there after appointing the contract that there is actually an overhaul of the sanitation and water infrastructure so as to ensure that there is running water. So we know there will be some interruptions but it is a matter of time and there will be uninterrupted running water.”

The Department of Local Government is hopeful the work currently underway will solve infrastructure challenges.

“Now in this case we believe that as soon as we have enough pressure of water, that will reduce the pressure on the  sewer. There will improvement in terms of sewer disposal,” CoGTA Spokesperson Zolile Lobe says.

The department has appealed to residents to pay for services to assist municipalities collect revenue.

Below is a television report on this story: