Children kayak in Kariega’s flooded streets

Local business owners scupper latest effort by Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality to remove water

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Unathi Marhasi, 14, plays on a small kayak near his grandmother’s home on Mabhida Street in KwaNobuhle township, Kariega (parental permission to use this photo was granted). The street has been flooded for eight months. Photos: Thamsanqa Mbovane

Madikizela and Mabhida streets in KwaNobuhle township, Kariega have been flooded with foul-smelling water for eight months.

Residents say their complaints about the stagnant water have fallen on deaf ears. Many were unable to access their driveways over the festive season and young children have been playing in the murky water.

According to people GroundUp spoke to, an underground pipe burst months ago, causing water to spill onto the streets. The area remains flooded because of poor drainage and blocked drains.

We first reported on the water-logged road in November. At the time Ward 45 Councillor Sabelo Mabuda said he was aware of the issue and had reported it to the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality. We visited the area again last week and found 14-year-old Unathi Marhasi floating on a small kayak on Mabhida Street.

Our reporter was told that a contractor had gone to fix the problem but was stopped by a disgruntled local business owner who demanded a share of the work.

Meanwhile, recent rain and overflowing water from the nearby pond had made the flooding worse.

“This is a disaster. Frogs are leaping into our yards. Every day, there are ducks and frogs making a hell of a noise in our vicinity,” says Coach Gxothiwe.

He says young children have been playing in the dirty water without any worries about drowning.

Lungeka Williams, whose house is surrounded by the flood water, says she has been complaining since last year. She says a contractor had scooped water into a large truck for four days. She confirmed that he left when his work was disrupted.

Mayco Member for Infrastructure and Engineering, Khanya Ngqisha (EFF), said his directorate would attend to the problem on Monday afternoon. Municipality spokesperson Mamela Ndamase also confirmed that a group of workers would attend to the problem soon.

Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality says it will fix the flooding on Mabhida and Madikizela streets on Monday.

TOPICS:  Sanitation

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