Residents of Welkom in the Free State say their rights have been violated for far too long. This as sewage spillages are seen in many streets of Thabong with a stench that permeates the homes of residents.
The Human Rights Commission in the Free State says several cases have been reported. It intends to embark on a provincial investigative enquiry into service delivery issues.
Many streets in Thabong remain flooded with sewer spillage making it unbearable for residents. Most elderly residents say they have never experienced this in their past lives.
A nonagenarian Khisanse Ramathe lives with sewer spillage right inside his house at Mosiako street in Thabong. Ramathe says he has had enough of the situation. “I am not OK as the situation is very bad for me. I need help.”
Residents say their grievances have fallen on deaf ears. This is what some of them have to say.
“All that they can do is to say we are waiting for the budget. And the ward councillor does not do anything. He is just sitting there at home.”
“It’s been a month now reporting this but nothing has changed. They come but nothing changes. Even now I am sick and it’s old people who are living here.”
“We’re asking for help. Our houses are flooded with sewer, we don’t know what to do.”
Free State Human Rights Commission says it has received complaints from across the province. Its manager Thabang Kheswa says they will embark on consultations with all municipalities in the province to see how the problem can be resolved and human dignity restored.
“A lot of complaints that relate to the provision of basic services at local government level. Many municipalities are still struggling with the provision of basic services like – your refuse removals and sewage spillages, provision of water and sanitation. That’s still a challenge. We have complaints with us from communities, individual complaints, organisations submitting complaints to the Human Rights Commission in the Free State. Many municipalities are really struggling so we want to find ways in which this can be resolved.”
The Matjhabeng municipality says illegal mining and vandalism have exacerbated the problem. It says it will need more than a billion rand to remedy the situation.