Sewage water is streaming down the roads, rendering them inaccessible to vehicles.
RESIDENTS in Snake Park in Phuthanang believe that they have been abandoned by the Sol Plaatje Municipality after the development of basic services ground to a sudden halt last year.
Community members said yesterday that they believed that their hopes would be realised when a contractor was appointed two years ago to lay sewerage and water pipes, but these hopes were dashed when the work stopped in November 2019.
“A contractor was appointed to lay the pipes for the water and sewerage system in the area. We were very happy as we thought that finally our needs were being attended to and services were being provided by the municipality. While they were still busy installing the pipes, a contractor was also appointed to install the electricity. It seemed like things were really moving along and that we would soon have water, sanitation and electricity.
“The electricity installation was finished before the installation of the pipes, so we now have electricity in our shanties. However, the project to install the pipes came to a standstill and the contractor disappeared. He just up and left everything as it was. We enquired about the matter and the councillor promised that the contractor would return but he has never come back.”
They added that sewage water is streaming down the roads, rendering them inaccessible to vehicles.
“We were promised proper sanitation, houses and roads but none of those promises were realised. We were promised that our roads would be paved but currently we cannot even go outside our houses because of the sewage water streaming down our roads. No vehicle, not even emergency vehicles, are able to access our roads as they get stuck in the sewage water.
“Just a few weeks ago, a woman, who was in urgent need of medical help, could not get assisted as the ambulance got stuck. The community members had to assist in getting the vehicle out of the water so that the patient could be attended to.
“Even the police vehicles are not able to come in here because of the condition of these roads. Our children cannot play in the streets as we are scared that they will drown in the water. It is also a health hazard as it is sewage water that is running down the streets.
“Our roads look like rivers. It is even a struggle to get to the public transport and we have to walk far with our parcels. This is not just a problem of non-service delivery – it has now become a health and safety concern.”
The residents said that their appeals to the municipality to fix the roads have been ignored.
“We had a meeting with the councillor about this problem and he promised that a new contractor would be appointed to pave the roads. We have also raised all the challenges in this area with the mayor of the Sol Plaatje Municipality, Patrick Mabilo, when he came to address us last week regarding a clean-up campaign. The mayor, however, said that the meeting had not been called to discuss our problems. It is obvious that the municipality does not care about us or our problems.”
Municipal spokesperson Sello Matsie referred media enquiries to the Northern Cape Department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (Coghsta) and the Housing Development Agency (HDA), stating that they were responsible for the project in the area.