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Sewage destroying houses

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A water canal built in front of the houses has not resolved the problem and has become a permanent river of sewage.

SEVERAL houses in Galeshewe, which were constructed just five years ago, are falling apart due to raw sewage overflowing onto the properties.

In 2016 some of the four-roomed houses in Magashula Street were demolished with the intention of lifting the foundations.

According to residents living in the street, as well as neighbours in the surrounding area, they have become “well known to the Sol Plaatje Municipality’s call centre” as a result of the problem.

A water canal built in front of the houses has not resolved the problem and has become a permanent river of sewage.

According to them they have to regularly clean the toilets and the sewerage system using shovels.

They added that their houses need constant repairs, including the patching and plastering of cracking walls, as a result of the sewage.

Residents did point out that they are aware of the fact that Premier Zamani Saul and the municipality have told the community that a solution is being worked on to address the problem.

“We have read in the media that the government has acknowledged the challenges relating to old infrastructure. But that does not give the municipality an excuse to leave us in this crisis. We pay for services so they should come and unblock the drains regularly,” a resident, Thabang Mothobi, said.

Another resident, Morgan Mahura, raised concerns that the sewage issue is not a crisis any more but a normal part of daily life.

Mahura said they have made peace with the fact that owning a house in Magashula Street is not an investment.

“We live in filth and people are always sick. The children are no longer allowed to clean the toilets due to the disgusting stuff bubbling out of the toilets,” he explained.

According to Mahura the raw sewage is pushed down the street, causing it to overflow into their yards.

“We don’t know what to do any more. I once saw sewage bubbling out of three holes in my yard and sealed the leaks. But that was a mistake because the pressure then caused one big hole in the pipe linked to the toilet.

“That hole has been there for more than a year now and the municipality cannot give any advice either. The acid has already eaten into my cement fence causing it to collapse.

He added that they asked the municipality for chemicals to counter the stench but did not receive any response.

Another resident said that he had to move out of his family home. “I was the only one left after my sisters got married but staying in the house became a nightmare.

“I thought things would get better after a new house was built, but the yard is surrounded by sewage.”

He eventually moved out and is now renting another house.

Residents living in a street next to Magashula also slammed the municipality for its slow response to their calls for help.

In Peme Street a main sewerage hole has been overflowing for the past three weeks with residents claiming that the municipality is not responding to their pleas for assistance.

“The municipality is fully aware of what we are going through because we have called them several times. The least they can do is to come and unblock the system,” one residents said.

She also pointed to the water canal in front of her home, which is overgrown with weeds.

“This is not only a health hazard, but a haven for criminals.”

According to her, residents have gone back to using buckets inside their homes and only go to the toilet to empty them.

“It is embarrassing to sit on a toilet, only to jump up when the sewage spills over. Believe me, I have experienced this several times in the 30 years that I have lived here.”

The Sol Plaatje Municipality admitted that the area has a high clay content which could also be the reason for the cracks in the walls.

Municipal spokesperson Sello Matsie said that the source of the raw sewage was the pipe that runs adjacent to Magashula Street. This pipe is constantly blocked.

“We have repeatedly warned residents not to throw unnecessary items into the system,” Matsie said.

He said that the blockage of the sewerage pipe in Seleke Street pushes back into Magashula Street as well as other streets in the area.

“The pipe is regularly cleared of mainly sand, nappies, women’s sanitary towels and weaves. We often also find beer bottles and blankets in the system.”