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Big stink after boy breaks leg

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The Grade R pupil was crossing Hammerkop Street when he slipped as he tried to jump over the sewage flowing in the road.

Picture: Danie van der Lith

THE SOUTH African Human Rights Commission and Green Scorpions have been asked to investigate the apparent failure by the Sol Plaatje Municipality to provide adequate sanitation services to the residents of Roodepan after a six-year-old boy broke his leg jumping over a pool of sewage recently.

The Grade R pupil, Jaygeson Blom, was crossing Hammerkop Street when he slipped as he tried to jump over the sewage flowing in the road.

According to his mother, Onica Blom, the boy had to undergo surgery to insert a plate and screws to hold the broken bone together while it heals.

“He is still in a lot of pain and is very nervous to use the crutches that he has been given. As a result, he is not able to go back to school yet.”

The incident happened at the end of last month.

The DA in the Northern Cape has meanwhile requested a joint investigation from the South African Human Rights Commission and the Green Scorpions into the flowing sewage and what the party terms “the persistent failure by the Sol Plaatje Local Municipality to provide adequate sanitation services to the residents of Roodepan”.

“It is unacceptable that overflows of raw sewage, ostensibly caused by blocked drains, have become such a common occurrence. These pools of raw sewage, left in streets for weeks while residents’ pleas fall on deaf ears, pose a severe risk to the health and safety of the community,” the DA’s provincial leader, Andrew Louw, said yesterday.

Louw pointed out that the municipality could seemingly not be bothered to ensure that all residents enjoyed an environment that was not harmful to their health and well-being.

Louw stated that the municipality had a duty and responsibility to deliver to all residents in all wards, irrespective of whether these were DA or ANC-run wards.

Teachers and pupils at Pescodia High School in Roodepan were recently sent home and the school was closed after sewage, overflowing from various drains on the school grounds, flooded the premises.

Spokesperson for the school’s governing body, Alice Badenhorst, said at the time that the stench and potential health risks posed by the sewage had resulted in the decision to shut the school.

Earlier this week, Badenhorst sent more photographs and videos showing the sewage once again flowing into the school’s premises, forming massive pools, as well as towards Pescodia Primary School. Badenhorst pointed out that the municipality had undertaken to regularly pump the sewage water away as a temporary solution to the problem. “However, they wait for the sewage to form massive pools and run like rivers down the road before they come and pump it away.”

Northern Cape Education Department spokesperson, Geoffrey van der Merwe, said yesterday that a team from the Sol Plaatje Municipality, together with officials from the municipality’s infrastructure section, had visited the two schools two weeks ago to assess the situation and determine the magnitude of the problem.

“The overflowing manholes are situated outside the schools’ premises, however, the sewage then flows into the premises of the two schools.”

He confirmed that the municipality had undertaken, as a temporary solution, to pump out the sewage water.

“Between the municipality and the department, we are working on a plan for a long-term solution.”

Earlier this week, the Sol Plaatje Municipality admitted that it had an ongoing problem with the sewerage network in Roodepan and indicated that while in the short term attempts were made to provide some relief by pumping the sewage from one manhole into another, thereby bypassing the problematic clay pipes, consultants were expected to start work soon on a more permanent solution.