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Lockdown, cops and toilet woes

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'Using the toilet and taking a bath is a basic need but now it has turned into a luxury for my family and I.'

The overflowing sewage. Picture: Soraya Crowie

A WOMAN from Diamond Park in Greenpoint said that she was almost arrested twice by the police for contravening the lockdown regulations when she was forced to go into the veld to relieve herself as her toilet was not working.

The woman said that her family’s joy over their newly-constructed home was short-lived after they discovered that the house’s sewage system had not been completed.

“We were very happy to be the recipients of one of the newly-constructed houses in this area. We moved into the house in June 2019. We tested our new bathroom and toilet. My husband then saw a huge wet stain in the soil by our front door. He told me that it appeared that there was some underground water trying to push through the ground. He then opened that portion of the earth and the sewage started running,” she said.

She added that they noticed that there was a connection pipe missing.

“There was a sewage pipe but there was a piece which connects it to another pipe that was not there. We immediately reported the matter to the contractor who is building the houses. The contractor said that he was newly appointed and that the previous contractor was responsible for the problem. We then approached the local councillor for assistance. The councillor only promised to have a look, but he never helped us.”

She said that they then had to stop using their bathroom.

“We cannot use the bath or the toilet. We wash ourselves in basins and have to ask neighbours, as well as family, to use their toilets. One can see it is sometimes an inconvenience to people. We then decided to go to the bushes although it is not safe. 

“I was stopped twice by the police when I was walking to the bush. The police asked me if I was aware that it was lockdown and we are not allowed to just roam the streets. That happened to me twice … and one police officer indicated that he would issue me with a fine because he recognised me from a previous time,” she sighed.

She said the matter was very frustrating.

“Using the toilet and taking a bath is a basic need but now it has turned into a luxury for my family and I. Besides the fact that the open sewage hole is filling my house with a stench, we now have to go around asking people to use their toilets. It is not a pleasure to live like this. We cannot even have visitors as we are ashamed of the stench, as well as the fact that we have no toilet facilities. Our wish is for this matter to be resolved.”

Sol Plaatje Municipality spokesperson Sello Matsie said they would attend to the matter.

“The problem is not the municipality’s to solve but that of the contractor. We will send a team to assess and bring the matter to the attention of the Department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs. We do not want the family to suffer indefinitely, but as a municipality we also cannot take the responsibility for the responsible parties. Such matters have legal and financial complications,” said Matsie.