Home News Residents ‘dumped in a ditch’ still waiting for Sol

Residents ‘dumped in a ditch’ still waiting for Sol

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Besides the problem with the sewage, the residents also have to carry buckets of water out of their shacks whenever it rains.

Residents of Santa have complained that the site has turned into a dumping ground. Picture: Danie van der Lith

THE OCCUPANTS of 10 shacks near Tshireleco High School in Santa are waiting to be moved to better plots after accusing the Sol Plaatje Municipality of dumping them in a ditch, which is repeatedly flooded with sewage, 23 years ago.

The residents said they had initially illegally occupied a nearby area but were moved by the municipality to their present site.

According to the residents, they have, however, been living under unbearable conditions and have received nothing but empty promises from the municipality.

They said they were moved after they were told that they had erected their shacks on a dangerous pipe, which was later sealed with cement.

According to them, the alternative site is in a ditch and their shacks are continuously flooded with foul-smelling, green sewage water.

On Wednesday, the residents attempted to flag down a municipal truck carrying soil in order to try and use it in a desperate attempt to protect their homes from the overflowing sewage.

Besides the problem with the sewage, the residents also have to carry buckets of water out of their shacks whenever it rains.

They have also complained that the area has turned into an illegal dumping site.

One of the residents said that all they were asking the municipality for was better plots.

“We did not realise at the time that we had been dumped into a dam or canal until it rained.”

The situation has gotten worse over the years.

“We are permanently suffering from sinuses and cold-related illness. It gets worse during summer as the stench from the sewage gets stronger,” said the resident.

“We just want better plots for now – we are willing to wait for electrification and RDP houses.

Another resident said their living conditions had also affected her 15-year-old daughter’s self-confidence.

“She was born here and is now in high school. She continues to ask me when we will be moved from this dump.

“We have been patient for too long.”

“We have also gone to the Sol Plaatje Municipality’s housing section to put our names on the list but nothing has come from it.”

She said they practically walked on wet floors when they entered their shacks.

Sol Plaatje municipal spokesperson Thoko Riet said that the identified settlement was among those waiting to be moved to 74 sites reserved for Santa residents in Kimberley.

She said the process had been stalled by the Covid-19 lockdown.

“The Santa Centre area is for 139 sites of which 65 of those sites are already occupied correctly,” said Riet.

“People living on the other sites have been moved to Lerato Park and we still need to break down the existing old Santa Centre houses and still put those people on the 139 planned sites for the area,” she explained.

“The process was stalled because of Covid-19 and we still need to install services like electricity and subsequently water reticulation and sewerage.”