Streets in Durban township are covered in sewage

Ward councillor blames frequent sewerage blockages on residents throwing rubbish into the drains

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Households in Siyanda B near KwaMashu, Durban, are directly affected by sewage that regularly overflows into their yards and streets. Photos: Manqulo Nyakombi.

For the past six years, residents of Siyanda B near KwaMashu, Durban, have been forced to deal with the foul smell of overflowing sewage in their community.

They are now demanding the eThekwini Municipality find a permanent solution to the problem. About 40 households have been directly affected by sewage often overflowing into their yards.

Fezeka Shangase said she is asthmatic and the terrible stench is negatively affecting her health. “I am fragile now because of my health. I encounter the faeces everytime I go outside. It is really not easy. I feel as if the eThekwini municipality has forgotten about us”, said Shangase.

Community leader Robert Mlaba said he has been asking the municipality to fix the ongoing sewage problem, but to no avail. “Community members always come to my house to complain about the overflowing sewage. Our pleas are falling on deaf ears.”

Resident Thulani Mkhize said: “We are constantly exposed to sewage spills, and we are expected to carry on with our lives as if we are not affected by this problem. The sad part is that I have children and they sometimes play outside in my yard, but I ended up telling them to find another place to play because the smell from the drain is unbearable, especially for children.”

Ward 41’s PR councillor Zithobile Ntuli told GroundUp the DA in eThekwini conducted oversight visits in Siyanda and saw the challenges and living conditions residents are forced to live in.

“It’s crucial for [ANC-run] eThekwini municipality to prioritise the well-being of the residents and provide essential services, including proper sanitation, waste management, and housing maintenance.

“It’s disappointing that the community’s complaints are seemingly being disregarded and reduced to mere reference numbers without tangible actions being taken to address the problems,” said Ntuli.

Ward 41 Councillor Nhlanhla Sibisi (ANC) said, “We have delayed as the municipality to unblock the sewerage system, but sometimes some of the sewerage blockages are caused by the community members who are throwing things that are blocking the system. The sewerage challenge is the thing that affects eThekwini municipality as a whole, not only the Siyanda B community.”

Residents of Siyanda B near KwaMashu say the eThekwini municipality must find a permanent solution to constant sewage spills.

Correction on 2023-08-28 13:26

The photographs were taken by Manqulo Nyakombi and not Tsoanelo as initially reported.

TOPICS:  Sanitation Waste management

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