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‘I have become a burden’

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“I have been forced to connect a water pipe to the stopcock to get water and I have to use a bucket to carry the water inside.”

A 72-YEAR-old Greenpoint woman, Margaret van der Linde, is forced to knock on the doors of her neighbours for basic services because the roots of a massive tree have blocked her sewerage and water pipes.

Van der Linde said the tree, which is situated in the yard of Greenpoint Primary School, has been a problem for more than three years.

“The tree has been in the school yard for many years and over the years the roots and the branches have spread into my yard. I spoke to the school principal about the problem and he was happy that the tree be cut,” said Van der Linde yesterday.

She added that the principal told her to report the matter to the ward councillor. “I spoke to the councillor and he promised to write a letter to the municipality but he has failed to do so.”

She added that she had tried to report the matter to the Sol Plaatje Municipality herself but the local authority informed her that the ward councillor had to write a letter.

She added that she was forced to “worry” her neighbours to get water or use the toilet.

“The roots of the tree are so strong and deep that they have grown under my toilet, which is located outside. The toilet cannot flush as the roots are pressing against the pipes. I usually have to walk to my nephew’s house, which is six houses away, to use his toilet. However, it is not safe to walk around at night or early in the morning.”

According to Van der Linde, her tap, which is located close to the toilet, is also not working.

“I have been forced to connect a water pipe to the stopcock to get water and I have to use a bucket to carry the water inside.”

When asked what she does in emergencies, Van der Linde said shyly that she was forced to stay over at relatives’ homes.

Van der Linde pointed out that the problem has become a major inconvenience over a number of years

“This is very embarrassing for me as I have to knock on people’s doors to use the toilet. It is also an inconvenience to the people who have been forced to assist me over the years. To help out someone every now and then is not a problem, however, the person who is being assisted should not become a liability. I have become a liability to people over the years. This matter needs to be solved as I cannot pass my years living in these conditions,” she said.

Municipal spokesperson Sello Matsie said that they will attend to the matter.

“We will attend to the blockage and will request our parks section to assist. We have several challenges regarding trees growing and damaging sewerage structures,” said Matsie