Elandsfontein drowning in sewage and buried by rubble

City of Ekurhuleni has not helped the residents who have reported the issues for nearly a year

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Martha Sibanyoni has had a dam of sewer water outside her home for 11 months. Photos: Silver Sibiya

Blocked sewers, stagnant sewer water flooding into their homes when it rains, water outages, impassable roads, an encroaching informal settlement, and an illegal dump site on their doorstep are making life miserable for at least 15 families in the suburb of Elandsfontein.

Despite repeatedly logging formal complaints, getting media coverage and their local councillor taking up their cause, the City of Ekurhuleni has done nothing to rescue its residents.

Sewer blockages are being blamed on illegal dumping from the informal settlement and dwellings being built over the sewer pipes. The same reason has been given by the City for not fixing the problem.

Martha Sibanyoni has had a dam of sewer water in front of her home for 11 months. From August last year to January she had no water. When her tap water was restored, she says it tasted and smelt bad. She now boils her water for drinking and cooking.

Her road, Dassie Street, is blocked by illegally dumped rubble.

“When we got here 15 years ago it was so clean, it was a decent suburb … But the situation got bad over the years, to where we are now,” she said.

“We ended up calling one of the officials on a regular basis for updates but now he doesn’t answer our calls anymore,” she said.

Sibanyoni had bought a container two years ago for R35,000 and placed it in her yard to open a food stall. But because of the sewage spill she has been forced to close her business.

“At the end of the month, we pay the bills, if we don’t, they [the City] switch off our water and electricity. They must come and do their work,” she said.

Ward 92 Councillor Kade Guerreiro (DA) said ,“I have brought the media out to see, I have done motions and questions to the council, trying everything that I can to get help,” he said. “But they [the City] are not helping us at the moment.”

Mayco Member for Finance Nkululeko Dunga (EFF) told GroundUp the illegal landfill site is “a heap of waste that will take forever to remove”. He blamed the historic closure of landfill sites for the problem.

City spokesperson Zweli Dlamini initially said the area would be cleaned up as part of a “service delivery campaign” on Friday 5 April.

But when nothing happened, Dlamini stopped responding to this reporter.

Dassie Street is blocked by illegal dumping of rubble.

TOPICS:  Local government Sanitation

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