Langa community leader Zweledinga Sweli said most of their areas and communities were swimming in sewage, some included Church Square, Zone 20, 23, 24, 25 and 26. Picture: Supplied
Langa community leader Zweledinga Sweli said most of their areas and communities were swimming in sewage, some included Church Square, Zone 20, 23, 24, 25 and 26. Picture: Supplied

Taxi violence blamed for affecting service delivery in Cape townships

By Sisonke Mlamla Time of article published Jul 21, 2021

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Cape Town - The City of Cape Town said the ongoing taxi conflict is the reason it is unable to respond to service delivery complaints, especially those affecting water and sanitation services.

Recently, they temporarily suspended services in the Langa, Philippi, and Nyanga areas, and have given assurances that every effort was being made to attend to the repairs and clearing of sewer blockages, as soon as it is safe and possible to do so, while prioritising the safety of their staff.

This was after residents from Langa complained about the stench and raw sewerage, together with stormwater that has not been drained in their areas for weeks.

Langa community leader Zweledinga Sweli said most of their areas and communities were swimming in sewage, some included Church Square, Zone 20, 23, 24, 25 and 26.

Sweli said they have been reporting to the City, and people came to assess the situation but never offered any assistance.

Good Party secretary-general Brett Herron, who visited Langa last week, said the community have been living with accumulating daily sewage spills – literally on their doorsteps.

Herron said residents of the Zones and Church Square have allegedly been logging complaints with the City since May.

"No middle-class community would tolerate, or be expected to tolerate, stepping stones across a sea of sewerage and stormwater, in order to access their homes," said Herron.

Mayco member for water and waste Xanthea Limberg said the team received five service requests of sewer blockages at private toilets, that were logged for Church Street, since May.

Limberg said the department conducted a CCTV pipe conditional assessment in June, which did not show any defects in the City’s pipeline.

She said currently the City’s Water and Sanitation Department has no service requests logged for sewer blockages for Church Street.

However, she said the City has been making every effort to repair the collapsed sewer pipeline in Zone 20, which occurred mid-June, as soon as possible, which was contributing to sewer overflows affecting the zones.

"The department has unfortunately not yet been able to repair the collapsed sewer affecting the zones, due to the safety risk to staff," said Limberg.

She said staff have allegedly been threatened, intimidated and chased off-site when they were doing over-pumping to contain spillages in the area.

City Spokesperson Luthando Tyhalibongo said it should be noted that they were experiencing many issues within those areas, not just as a result of overflowing sewers, but also the decanting of greywater, building over structures, illegal closing of inlet/outlet structures or illegal dumping which, in many cases, was the main cause of blockages.

"We will, however, continue to attend to stormwater blockages and flooding incidents where applicable, and when safe to do so," said Tyhalibongo.

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