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Stinky situation for centre

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“We are not certain how bad the problem is at the mines when the pump is blocked.”

THE ARTISAN Training Institute (ATI) centre in Kimberley has a stinky problem on its hands as raw sewage from a pumping station located a few metres away from the entrance of the centre repeatedly gets blocked and overflows.

The management of the centre, which is seen as one of the best artisan training institutes in the country, said that they have had to suffer with this problem for many months.

“We have experienced raw sewage flowing into the premises since October last year. We have lodged several complaints, through phone calls and e-mails, to the Sol Plaatje Municipality. The matter, however, just persists and was never solved,” said the senior trainee instructor in the electrical department, Gamal Paulsen.

Paulsen said that they have been forced to send trainees home on some days as the conditions are so unhygienic.

“On some days the sewage floods the entire drive-in of the centre. We have to park our vehicles outside the premises and walk onto the premises. Once inside, the problem is even worse as trainees cannot use the bathroom as it overflows with sewage the moment one flushes the toilet. On these days we have no other option but to send trainees home as we cannot deny them from going to the bathrooms. Also, the stench from the sewage outside makes it unbearable to work.”

Paulsen said they have identified the pump station that is located a few metres from the entrance of the centre as the cause of the problem.

“The sewage from Cassandra, as well as the mines in this area, flows to this pump station. The pump station gets blocked and overflows. The centre is then faced with the challenge as the pump is nearby. We are not certain how bad the problem is at the mines when the pump is blocked.”

He added that the problem has, over the months, become embarrassing.

“We have upgraded this centre to get it to top standard and we are regarded as one of the best training centres in the country. We have guests and trainees from across the country who come to the centre. It is not a very welcoming sight and feeling when one is first greeted by the picture and stench of raw sewage. We really need a permanent solution to this problem.”

ATI purchased the training campus from De Beers in June 2019.

Sol Plaatje Municipality spokesperson Sello Matsie blamed constant cable theft for the blockage of the pump station.

“Due to cable theft in that area the pump station was not working. The pump station has since been fixed. To alleviate the blockage problem, we send trucks to pump the pump station to relieve the pressure. The continuous cable theft results not only in the non-functioning of the pump station but also damages the pump. This poses a challenge to service delivery too,” Matsie said.

– Benida Phillips