Residents and businesses in Burgersfort raise concerns about a five-year sewage spill crisis

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Residents and businesses at Burgersfort in Limpopo have raised concerns about a sewage spill which is causing an unbearable smell in some parts of the town.

The sewage spill is affecting a taxi rank as well as several private businesses. The Fetakgomo-Tubatse Municipality says it has brought in technicians from Lepelle Northern Water to fix the problem.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Province has, however, filed a complaint with the Environmental Management Inspectorate or the Green Scorpions, against the municipality.

Five-year stench

Concerned residents and businesses say the sewage spill has gone unresolved for more than five years.

The spill has affected the quality of air in some parts of Burgersfort. Taxi operators that work close to the area where the sewage spill is say they are worried about their health.

One of the taxi drivers, Teko Thobejane, says the municipality has not paid attention to their pleas to fix the problem.

“I have been working here for three years. The sewage spill has always been a problem to us because it is close to our taxi rank. We are unable to have meals without worrying that we are consuming harmful substances. We approached the municipality several times for them to help us, but that has not yet happened,” says Thobejane.

Business affected

A car dealership not far from the taxi rank is also affected. One of the employees, Shivani Pillay, says the stench from the spill has negatively affected their clients.

Pillay explains, “It is also affecting our health tremendously. We have had people that work around the community also get really rather sick because of the smell, because of the animals that are lurking around in the sewage dump as it stands there. We are threatened by the sewage. It is also deteriorating clientele. We have been unable to services our customers because of the fumes that comes out of there. It is toxic.”

The DA in the Province has accused the municipality of endangering the lives of community members by violating environmental laws.

Member of the Provincial Legislature, Katlego Phala, says a case against the municipality has been filed with the Environmental Management Inspectorate or the Green Scorpions.

Phala adds, “Clearly, the Fetakgomo-Tubatse Municipality or the district has failed, hence we have engaged or made a complaint with the green scorpions as the DA in the province, so that they can intervene. And further, we have also approached the office of Cogta, Makamu, in the province, so that he can intervene. Our message was prompted by a resident in the province who wanted to remain anonymous and this is clearly a violation of health and the environment.”

Spokesperson for the Fetakgomo-Tubatse Municipality, Thabiso Mokoena, sent a statement to SABC News, saying that technicians from Lepelle Northern Water are resolving the sewage spill.