Khayelitsha resident Sheila Maqwentshu is cleaning sewage in front of her Educare centre – which she had to close because of sewer blockages in the area. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)
Khayelitsha resident Sheila Maqwentshu is cleaning sewage in front of her Educare centre – which she had to close because of sewer blockages in the area. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

WATCH: Residents protest against sewage spills, blockages in Khayelitsha

By Mthuthuzeli Ntseku Time of article published Sep 29, 2021

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Cape Town - Site B residents, in Khayelitsha, took to the streets on Tuesday and barricaded roads, over what they said was the City's failure to fix the ongoing sewer overflows and blockages in the area.

Residents vowed to shut down several main roads in the area, until the City presented them with a proper plan.

Community leader Ludwe Vara said the City had failed to address the sewer problem in the area, making other areas and schools inaccessible.

“What we discovered, during our engagement with the City, was that the sewer system in Site B was developed in 1986, when there were only formal houses. Currently, in ward 21 alone, there's 20 informal settlements, on top of eight formal settlements, and the system was never upgraded.

“We have gotten used to the spills occurring on the streets, however, our issue is that all seven schools in Victoria Mxenge had spills, including Site B clinic, Nonkqubela mall, even inside our houses,, and this shows that we are in a crisis,” said Vara.

Ward councillor Thando Mpengezi who said was taken aback by the protest, admitted that this was the residents’ last resort to get the problem fixed.

“Our problem is that there are no resources in Khayelitsha. When we call, we are told that there are not enough pump trucks. Khayelitsha is one of the biggest townships, but has less than four sewage pump trucks.

“Just last month, a two-year-old child drowned, after falling into a sewage drain, outside his family home in Greenpoint, and the City did not learn anything from that. Instead, the service is getting worse,” said Mpengezi.

Residents vowed to shut down several main roads in the area, until the City presented them with a proper plan. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency(ANA)
Residents from Site B, Khayelitsha, have taken to the streets to make their voices heard in a protest that has disrupted traffic. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency(ANA)
Residents from Site B, Khayelitsha, have taken to the streets to make their voices heard, in a protest that has disrupted traffic. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Mpengezi said a plan he developed, to address the sewage problem in the area, was ignored by the City.

Mayco member for water and waste Xanthea Limberg said a collective effort between the City’s Water and Sanitation Department, and residents, was required to achieve a meaningful, long-term solution, to address sewer overflows in Site B and Site C, in Khayelitsha.

“Over the next two financial years, the department is planning to upgrade various sections of sewage infrastructure in Site B and Site C, Khayelitsha, aimed at providing additional capacity within the network, but this will not solve the overflow problem unless residents use the new infrastructure for its appropriate use,” she said.

Limberg said the R6 million refurbishment of the Site B pump station, which was severely vandalised in February, will be completed in October, and enhanced security measures have already been installed.

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Cape Argus

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