Nelson Mandela Bay Metro attending to sewer system issues

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Infrastructure decay and vandalism of the sewer system in parts of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro has lead to thousands of blockages this past year. This sometimes led to sewerage spillages. The metro says it is dealing with the issues at hand — but it is big challenge.

Sewerage spilling into people’s properties has become a regular occurrence.

Motherwell residents, Mzilikazi Mtshisa and Thulani Mtshisa, say this has been health hazard, terrorising them for years now.

“We have been living like this for the past 20 years. This happens almost every month, the sewerage spills over our houses. The smell is really terrible. We have kids that want to go and play outside. We have to watch them all the time to not go over the sewerage.”

“This happens every other month, the pipes block and the municipality comes and unblocks it. But it blocks again especially when it was a busy weekend in the area like a funeral or an event. We would like the municipality to change the pipes altogether maybe they are small and can’t take the volume.”


The Director of Water and Sanitation in the Metro, Barry Martin, says vandalism has been identified as one the main causes of sewer blockages.

“Vandalism is not only stealing cables but it is also putting foreign material on the drains which causes blockages. So people need together with municipality by calling out perpetrators of vandalism.”

The municipality says less focus was placed on the development and maintenance of sanitation infrastructure over the past seven years. The Metro’s MMC for Infrastructure and Engineering, Khanya Ngqisha, says the focus has shifted and measures are in place to address the matter.

“To date we have since a introduced private armed security at critical installations. We also provide security escorts of maintenance staff in problematic areas, where our officials are attacked and robbed as they attend to problems. However, it is clear to us that we will not overcome this crisis alone. We need our residents to work with us to stop this as it has a devastating effect on your livelihoods.”

The municipality attended to more than 16 000 sewer blockages in the past year. These include some main lines that were clogged, costing the metro more than R3 million.

NMB metro points vandalism of the sewer system as reason of blockages this past year: