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Residents cause a stink

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The residents lambasted the municipality and their councillor for not doing anything about the problem

SICK AND TIRED: Vincent Motabegi, who lives in Methodist Street, Galeshewe, says he has been complaining for months about the sewage that runs in front of his house.

RESIDENTS in Methodist Street in Galeshewe yesterday demonstrated their frustration with the overflowing sewage in their street by dumping buckets of sewage in front of the home of their councillor.

The residents said that they have been living with sewage flowing down the street for months and that the Ward 18 councillor, Peet van Wyk, had not acted to get the problem fixed.

They said yesterday that it was only fair that the councillor shared in their misery.

“We have been living with raw sewage flowing down our street for the past three months. We have complained about the matter to the councillor and he said the pipes are too small. Yet there is nothing being done to address the matter. It seems like the municipality simply says we have to bear with it and live in these conditions,” said one of the residents, Theo Kantane.

“These streets are a hazard to everyone in the area, especially the children who are playing in the wet conditions. Children do not understand that the sewage can cause serious health risks to their lives. We cannot continue to live like we are in a pigsty.”

Another resident, Vincent Motabegi, said that he has to navigate his way through the sewage every day.

“The sewage flows right past my yard. There are dams of smelly and raw sewage. I have to drive in and out of the yard each day to get to work and I am forced to drive through it. It is really disgusting to live in such conditions. The smell is unbearable, yet we have to stay in these conditions.

“It is unacceptable as we cannot enjoy the comfort of our homes for months now. I also have young children whom I have to continuously warn about playing in the sewage. The municipality is truly failing us as residents as they are not even attempting to fix the problem,” said Motabegi.

The residents lambasted the municipality and their councillor for not doing anything about the problem.

“We have been living like this for months. The municipality can at least try to cover the sewage with some chemicals. The cars even have to drive on the sidewalks as they do not want to drive in the pools of sewage.

“Our cries have been falling on deaf ears and the person who is supposed to render us support in this matter is not doing anything. It is only fair that the sewage buckets are being emptied at the home of the councillor to show that the people have had enough. We are tired of people who only go to council to receive their salaries and do not want to fight for the plight of the community. Too many councillors get comfortable with doing nothing for the people they are supposed to represent.”

While Sol Plaatje spokesperson, Sello Matsie, acknowledged that the municipality has a challenge with sewerage blockages, he pointed out that the majority of the blockages were caused by residents.

“We have a struggle with sewerage blockages as well as illegal dumping in that area. We want to remind the community that while the municipality does have the responsibility to unblock the sewerage system and to provide proper sanitation services, this has been a challenge as some people flush a lot of foreign objects like disposable nappies, beer bottles, sanitary towels, car batteries, weaves and even blankets down the sewer.

“The problem of blockages will not end if people repeatedly throw these items into the system.”

Matsie urged the residents not to turn their anger on the councillor.

“As much as councillors are there to serve the community, the anger of the community cannot be directed at them and their families.”

Van Wyk said that communities were quick to lay the blame at the door of the councillors even though the councillors are also affected by the same problems.

“I stay in the same area and the sewage runs past my house too. I have reported the matter several times to the council. I got a list of street names, which I handed to the municipality, where urgent attention is needed. I also got references on the reports I had made to the municipality. We are all affected by the problem yet people tend to think that councillors are sitting back and not addressing their issues during council meetings. I also live with the stench and my family is also affected by the problem,” said Van Wyk.

He added that the sewage problem was not only in his ward.

“The reality is that the entire Kimberley has a challenge with sewage overflowing. There is sewage running everywhere and all residents are affected. However, the community also needs to play their role in solving this problem as some of blockages are due to items which they throw down the system. I always address the problem during funerals and community meetings where I urge them not to make the matter worse by dumping foreign objects into the drainage system.”

Van Wyk said he might take legal action against those who emptied the sewage in front of his house.

“I was not at home when the incident occurred. I got a call from my children who were shocked by the incident. I later found out that Theo was at the head of the matter … I could not understand what the aim of the dumping was as he does not even stay in my ward. I did not even think that the matter had anything to do with service delivery. What is puzzling is that Theo will act out in my ward yet he does not act the same in his ward.

“If there is a threat to the safety of my family then I will have no choice but to open a case with the police. I have not done so yet as I did not understand what the matter was about,” said van Wyk.