Sewage overflowing on Democracy and Freedom Way in Joe Slovo, Milnerton.
Sewage overflowing on Democracy and Freedom Way in Joe Slovo, Milnerton.

City of Cape Town blamed for sewage stink in Joe Slovo

By Mthuthuzeli Ntseku Time of article published Jun 2, 2021

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Cape Town - Re-Think The Stink said City officials needed to be held accountable for allowing sewage to overflow on Democracy and Freedom Way in Joe Slovo, Milnerton, for over a month.

Caroline Marx from Re-Think The Stink said this health hazard was unacceptable in the immediate vicinity and was an unseen risk further downstream, where it flows into the river and ocean.

“Residents also need to play their part by only putting human waste and toilet paper into the sewage system, no nappies, pads, rags or plastic packets or the problem will reoccur quickly.

“The money spent on these repairs would rather have been spent on building housing. So the community loses out if a few people abuse the system. Far better for everyone to work together to solve the problems,” she said.

Table View resident Phillipe Roche said developments in Joe Slovo and Dunoon were not planned, which was a major contributor to the sewage overflow caused by exploding and collapsing sewage infrastructure in both areas.

“Development is unavoidable. It is needed for growth in the current economic model. However, unregulated development and illegal development damages society and the environment and becomes unsustainable, as it is unplanned from a viewpoint of sewage treatment, water supply, city services (pipes, electricity, sewage reticulation and storm water drains). If it is not planned properly from an infrastructure view point, it will backfire and create untold misery,” he said.

Milnerton Ridge Ratepayers’ Association committee member, Jacqui Pember, said part of the problem lied with the residents but the ultimate responsibility lies with the City.

She said the City allowed the overcrowding to happen and was getting worse as more people moved into the area unhindered.

“What the City does is not a long-term solution. We don’t have a view of what is being planned to address the root cause of the flooding. Expanding Potsdam isn’t doing anything to resolve the issues in Joe Slovo.

“While millions are being spent on the wastewater treatment plant, a plan needs to be made for Joe Slovo as well, as it’s an untenable situation for the residents there as well as their immediate neighbours in Phoenix,” she said.

The City’s spokesperson Luthando Tyhalibongo said the City was aware of the overflows in this area and that a collapsed pipe was playing a role.

“We have an over pumping system in place to keep the sewage flowing at most times, but blockages and stormwater/sewer connections can overwhelm the pumps, especially when it rains.

“We are working in the area to minimise the impact on residents, but also ask for the community to check on their properties if their gutters are draining to sewers, and correct this if necessary. This can help prevent the worst of the overflows in the area, especially during winter when it rains,” said Tyhalibongo.

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