Roodepan residents say that they have been plagued by sewage flooding for the past 12 years.
RESIDENTS of White City, Roodepan who live near to the retention dam and pump station have challenged Northern Cape Premier Zamani Saul and Sol Plaatje executive mayor Patrick Mabilo to swop residences with them for a week in order to experience their “endless nightmare” of sewage flooding.
The residents said that the area is often flooded with sewage when the dam overflows.
They said that this was not a new issue, pointing out that they had been plagued by sewage flooding for the past 12 years already.
They said that the regular flooding was a health hazard, especially for children and the elderly, and that it has also resulted in a drop in the value of their properties.
They indicated that they have to take their children to the doctor or hospital often and many of the residents said they avoid spending time at their homes.
Some of the residents added that they often have to replace their furniture, which gets damaged due to the damp.
According to the residents, they have written numerous letters to several Sol Plaatje mayors, MECs and the Office of the Presidency over the years, pleading for intervention and calling for the dam to be drained and closed and for maintenance work to be conducted on the pump station.
They said that President Cyril Ramaphosa, along with the Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation, Lindiwe Sisulu, had visited the area during the ANC’s January 8 celebrations in the city in 2019.
“The president addressed us and instructed the Sol Plaatje Municipality to delegate our removal from this place, regardless of the fact that we live in bond houses.”
The residents added that Mabilo had visited the area earlier this month and promised to deal with the flooding issue within three weeks.
“Now the mayor and the Speaker’s Office have just gone quiet on the matter and are not taking our calls. They passed the blame to the banks and accused them of erecting houses in the wrong place,” said the residents.
The mayoral spokesperson, Persome Oliphant, did not respond to media enquiries.
The Sol Plaatje Municipality has meanwhile blamed the flooding on repeated vandalism at the sewage pump station and pleaded with communities to assist with safeguarding public infrastructure and to report suspicious activity.
The residents, however, said that the problem was unlikely to be caused by vandalism because the pump station is secured by an electric fence and “is hardly opened by anyone to come and check on it”.
Municipal spokesperson Sello Matsie said that the local authority regretted the inconvenience to residents, but stressed that it faces constant challenges in regards to protecting its infrastructure.
“Just about everything is stolen despite the upgrading of security, including security fencing and cameras,” said Matsie.
Matsie said that the current affected pump stations are Camelia and Midlands, where repairs and upgrades are planned.
“Currently we do use alternative measures to minimise sewage spillages,” Matsie added.