Protesters dump rubbish inside City depot

Khayelitsha residents say their drains are blocked and nothing is being done

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Protesters from a Khayelitsha informal settlement marched to a City of Cape Town engineering depot on Tuesday to complain about constant problems with overflowing sewage. Some say they have had to leave their homes. Photo: Nombulelo Damba-Hendrik

  • Protesters from Shukushukuma informal settlement in Khayelitsha marched to a City of Cape Town engineering depot on Tuesday and dumped their rubbish on the premises.
  • They were complaining about blocked drains in their area. Some say they have had to leave their homes because the sewage overflow is so bad.
  • This follows protests on Monday when residents blocked busy Lansdowne Road.
  • After a meeting between residents and City officials, a truck was sent to the informal settlement to fix the sewage problem.

Khayelitsha informal settlement residents dumped rubbish inside the City of Cape Town Civil Engineering Depot in Makhaya on Tuesday, demanding that the City fix their broken drains.

Protesters, from Shukushukuma in Site C, blocked the entrance to the Depot. Some were carrying garbage in plastic bags. They threw it inside the premises.

Residents said that for years they had been living with broken drains in the informal settlement, which was formed in 1985 next to a canal.

Community leader Khaya Kama said they had taken the matter to ward councillor Mabuti Vellem in June last year and he had contacted the City of Cape Town. “We waited for the City to come fix it but they did not,” said Kama.

He said he made a number of follow-ups but still the City did not come.

“In October the problem started to get worse, I informed the City via email - I have reference numbers - but we were not assisted,” said Kama. “Now people have abandoned their homes because the dirty water is going straight into their shacks.”

The march followed a protest on Monday, when residents blocked busy Lansdowne road with burning tyres and rubbish demanding that City of Cape Town fix the drains.

When we visited the area on Monday residents were busy trying to unblock the sewage using rakes, but without success.

“What we want is the City to send trucks to unblock those sewerage drains,” said Kama.

Residents tried to unblock the drains themselves but without success. Photo: Nombulelo Damba-Hendrik

Resident Manyawuza Bayede said she had left her house last month because of the dirty water.

She said for months they have been begging ward the councillor to help them. “The Councillor will tell us that he reported the matter to the City and we should wait,” said Bayede. “This water is not only dirty but it is stinking.”

“I don’t have a place to live with my children and I can’t continue living with relatives. This is very frustrating because I left my belongings in that shack. My cupboard, bed and fridge are still there and I don’t think I will use them again.”

Another resident Nosakhe Sigwela said the City no longer collected rubbish in the area and as a result people dumped it next to the canal, leading to blocked drains.

Vellem said he had reported the matter to the City since last year and had made a number of follow ups but the problem of drains at Shukushukuma had not been solved.

City workers who spoke to GroundUp at the Depot said they had stopped going to Site C because they were scared of criminals.

After an hour-long meeting between community leaders and City officials at the Depot, a truck was sent to Shukushukuma to fix the problem.

Responding to GroundUp questions, the City of Cape Town said it was aware of the situation in Shukushukuma and was “mobilising roleplayers to determine what can be done to address the flooding”.

The City said the settlement formed illegally on a stormwater retention pond which is designed to collect water when it rains. Pumps were being used to empty the flooded areas. The City said a refuse collection service was provided to Shukushukuma, “however it has been impacted by a vehicle shortage in recent months”.

Update on 2021-05-12 09:46

This article has been changed to include comment from the City of Cape Town.

TOPICS:  Sanitation

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