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Sewage overflows under spotlight

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The living conditions that families are subjected to in these areas are inhumane

INSPECT: Andrew Louw, DA provincial leader, together with ward councillor Cliffie Lewis, conducted oversight inspections of sewage overflows in Homevalley and Roodepan. Picture: Supplied

OVERFLOWING sewage in Kimberley has once again come under the spotlight following an oversight visit by the DA this week.

The party said yesterday that it would report sewage overflows in Kimberley to the Office of the Public Protector to assist with their ongoing investigation into the sewage crisis in the city.

The provincial leader of the DA, Andrew Louw, together with ward councillor Cliffie Lewis, conducted oversight inspections of sewage overflows in Homevalley and Roodepan earlier this week.

“I was physically overcome by the putrid stench of sewage that residents in these areas have had to endure for months on end,” Louw said.

He pointed out that in Homevalley, residents of Success Street are especially exposed.

“Philip Van Rensburg, whose house borders on a sewage spill, has suffered aggravated asthma attacks due to the strong fumes that he has to inhale. He was previously hospitalised as a result. Van Rensburg is just one of many residents living in the area who is concerned for the health and well-being of himself and his family,” Louw said.

One resident, Andries August, stated that when the sewage pushed up, his household literally had to climb out of their property, while another resident, Cecil Baatjies, pointed out that he was concerned for the health of his three-month old grandchild.

Other residents said they were anxious that the coming summer heat would exacerbate the smell and bring with it flies and mosquitoes.

Louw pointed out that in Roodepan, in Seeduif Street, bubbling drains were not a new phenomenon. “When the sewage pushes up in Basil Kaleb’s house, it comes up through the kitchen sink and the shower.”

Louw added that it was shocking that people had to live with a mass of rotting, green sewage on their doorsteps.

“It is unthinkable that while big portions of roads, private properties and public spaces have become sludge farms the municipality has done nothing concrete to resolve the issue, other than sometimes pumping out blocked drains and digging temporary trenches.”

Louw described the living conditions that families were subjected to in these areas as inhumane.

“The sewage problem is not just an unpleasantry, instead it is a health hazard and a danger and government can no longer afford to turn a blind eye to it.

Clearly it is not just ad hoc upgrades and maintenance of the sewerage lines that is needed, but an overhaul of the entire sewerage system network in the whole of Kimberley.”

He further called on the Office of the Public Protector to speed up its investigation into sewage flows across the city, “as this is a time bomb waiting to explode”.

The municipality said in response yesterday that it noted the referral of the sewage matter to the Public Protector. “We welcome this action by the DA because there is absolutely nothing to hide,” municipal spokesperson, Sello Matsie, said.

“There have been challenges that are well recorded and we have been working with all the relevant stakeholders on these challenges – ranging from the cave-in of sewerage pipelines, the refurbishment of Gogga Pump Station and the Homevale Waste Water Treatment Plant, the illegal construction on our networks and the vandalism of our pump stations, which we have also upgraded.

“We will attend to the matters that have been highlighted as we do with all areas within our jurisdiction and provide full co-operation to any investigation.”