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’How am I supposed to live like this?’

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For over six months a Bloemanda resident has been waiting for her outside toilet to be unblocked by the municipality, while raw sewage runs into her backyard.

Elizabeth Gabaatlhee at her outside toilet, where raw sewage is flowing from blocked pipes. Picture: Soraya Crowie

IF IT’S not burst pipes, potholes or a lack of lighting in residential areas, then it is sewage and overflowing drain problems plaguing city residents.

With all these problems, residents are not convinced that Sol Plaatje Municipality is able to cope with the backlog of calls made to their offices on a regular basis.

For over six months an elderly woman in Bloemanda has been waiting for her outside toilet to be unblocked by the municipality.

Elizabeth Gabaatlhee, 59, who lives in Selebogo Street, has been battling to get the municipality to come out to unblock and fix the sewage pipes next to her outside toilet.

Gabaatlhee lives alone in her home although her grown-up son lives in a shanty in her backyard.

Gabaatlhee explains that she has never had any issues with her outside toilet until December last year when she had to call the municipality to come and unblock her sewage pipes as well as two neighbours’ sewage pipes.

“Ever since then I have been having constant problems with the sewage pipes next to the toilet, where the raw sewage runs from.”

Gabaatlhee was forced to cover the pipes with bricks and boards in an attempt to cover the raw sewage pooled there, although the smelly water still runs along the side of her house.

“After the municipal workers came out in December they have been here twice since, but now I’m not able to get them to come back again. When I call the municipal complaints number I am told that they will be coming out. Well, six months later I am still waiting.

“Two weeks ago there was a funeral across the road from me and some of the people asked if they could use my toilet. I was so embarrassed as the stench was unbearable and the raw sewage was lying around the toilet area.

“The stench fills the air and for visitors it is unbearable. How am I supposed to live in this disgusting environment where I can’t even leave my back door open? The municipality must fix the issue, not just come and unblock the pipes.”

Sol Plaatje Municipality spokesperson Thoko Riet said, “We regret and apologise for the delay and apologise that residents have to wait for services to be rendered.

“We have a huge challenge in terms of sewage blockages around the city and we also plead with residents not to throw foreign objects in manholes which is a contributing factor to sewage blockages.

“The old infrastructure also has an impact. Kimberley as a city has grown over the years but the infrastructure remains old, and that is what we are working towards, to install better sewerage lines to serve the population of Kimberley.

“In total, we have six trucks, three are not in working order. The municipality currently only has three trucks servicing the entire Kimberley, and one for Ritchie.”

Riet added that the municipality’s sanitation teams are doing their best to assist residents with sewage problems.

“We log in a call to assist, first to assess what could be causing the constant blockage there, and once the problem has been identified we can look at finding a permanent solution.

“We also urge residents to call the control room directly on 053 8306 111, where they will be given a reference number to trace their queries,” said Riet.

The sewage pipes are covered with boards in an attempt to cover the raw sewage pooled in the back yard in Selebogo Street, Bloemanda. Picture: Soraya Crowie
Sewage water runs down the side of the house in Selebogo Street. Picture: Soraya Crowie
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