Johannesburg - A burst sewage pipe has been spewing thousands of litres of raw sewage into a greenbelt area in Randpark Ridge and into numerous adjoining suburbs since the beginning of December last year.
And Joburg Water appears unable to solve the problem.
Residents living along the stream say the smell is so bad that they cannot even sit outside in their gardens anymore and have to burn incense to be able to sleep at night.
They logged complaints last month with Joburg Water and say that officials have been walking around inspecting the problem, but have failed to do anything about it.
The sewage is flowing from Albatross Drive downstream through Boskruin, Sonnenglans, under Malibongwe Drive, joining the Klein Jukskei in the Fourways area before it joins the Jukskei.
Resident Jen Metcalfe said: “We live on the greenbelt in Randpark Ridge and since the middle of December there has been an awful smell. We contacted Joburg Water’s sewage section, who sent someone out within 24 hours, which was very impressive, and they gave us a reference number. The man that came out went to check the spruit at the nearest corner of Duiker Avenue and Bosbok Road where the smell was coming from.
“He returned to tell us that the pipes had broken completely and the raw sewage was running into the river. He informed us that he was going back to report to his supervisor and that they would need to get contractors out to fix the problem. Nothing has been done since, and this sewage is running through various suburbs on its way down the river and must be a serious health hazard,” she said.
The smell has become so unpleasant that she and her family can no longer go into the garden. “When we have meals, we have to put Vicks or something strong-smelling under our noses so that we can eat. We burn incense at night so that we can sleep,” she said.
Metcalfe said there had been “council people wondering around and talking” in the greenbelt and someone was “banging around on something for an hour on Friday”.
Sergio Massimiani also lives nearby, in a complex off CR Swart Drive.
He says the smell has been there for about three months.
“I have been reporting it constantly. It is becoming unbearable, especially during the hot weather. There is a broken sewer pipe further upstream, discharging raw sewage into this stream. Despite reporting this smell on numerous occasions to Joburg Water, the smell is getting worse.
“We cannot sit outside in the garden due to the strong smell. Please help, this must be affecting a large number of residents downstream,” he said.
Joburg Water spokesman Millicent Kabwe said they were investigating the cause of the problem and would be taking the appropriate action.