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‘Stormwater canal is useless’

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“During Tuesday’s rainfall, my yard was filled with water and sewage, as well as rubble.”

GREENPOINT residents have expressed their anger regarding a multimillion-rand stormwater canal that they claim is “useless” and adding to their woes.

The residents said the canal was built about five years ago with the aim of curbing flooding in the area during heavy rains.

According to the residents, however, the canal is in a dilapidated state and filled with rubbish.

One residents, Philip Leonard, said yesterday that his house was flooded with rainwater and sewage during Tuesday’s downpour.

“It was not even raining heavily on Tuesday afternoon, yet my yard and house were flooded with rainwater that came flowing from the canal,” said Leonard.

“That canal was built in order to stop the constant flooding we experienced in the past. The answer to the problem at the time was to build the canal. There were even government officials at the unveiling ceremony. However, we could see from the outset that the canal would not serve any purpose as it consisted of just two single-brick walls … it was obvious to everyone that the strong water flowing down to Greenpoint from town would result in the walls collapsing.

“During Tuesday’s rainfall, my yard was filled with water and sewage, as well as rubble.”

Leonard added that the contractors who were appointed to construct the canal needed to take responsibility.

“This canal cost R13 million. A shoddy job was done and now nobody wants to take responsibility for any of this mess that has been created. The residents in this area have been left to deal with the damage and the frustration.

“We had not received any answers from the municipality or the provincial government on how this matter will be resolved. We are still living in the same conditions, yet millions of rand were wasted on this project.

“The water that floods the area is not even from Greenpoint, it comes flowing down from Southridge. Our homes are flooded and we have to sleep in the wet and try to salvage our property, yet those residents living in Southridge are not affected,” he added.

Another resident, Raymond Motshabi, claimed that the engineer appointed to the project was not qualified.

“The people who built the canal did a very poor job and they need to be investigated. Millions of rand were squandered and those responsible need to be brought to book. The cries of the community need to be heard and be addressed,” said Motshabi.

This is not the first time that residents in the area have been plagued by overflowing water when it rains. In November 2014, rainwater caused one of the walls of the canal to break, flooding more than 100 houses and shacks.

Sol Plaatje spokesperson Thoko Riet said that illegal dumping at the mouth and inside of the canal affects the proper functioning of the canal and is a major challenge to the municipality.

The Greenpoint canal project commenced in July 2013 and was concluded in June 2015. According to the Sol Plaatje Municipality the total cost of the canal was

R13 500 000, which included material costs of R6 872 306 and EPWP labour of R5 380 193.

“The project was a labour intensive construction project, hence unskilled community members were employed to construct the canal. The project also included professional fees of R1 347 501,” a municipal spokesperson said.

“The municipality is aware of the challenges related to the canal. However the flood cannot be attributed to the efforts put in place. The canal is rife with illegal dumping and vandalism.”