MARIEMUTHU Maduray stands in his neighbour’s backyard where sewage seeps through to his property. The indignity of having to scoop up raw sewage flooding their homes “by hand” drove the community of ward 13 in Imbali, outside Pietermaritzburg, to a violent protest that has lasted for two days, resulting in clashes with the police. SIBUSISO NDLOVU African News Agency (ANA)
DURBAN - The indignity of having to scoop up raw sewage flooding their homes “by hand” drove the community of ward 13 in Imbali, outside Pietermaritzburg, to a violent protest that has lasted for two days, resulting in clashes with the police.

Community members went on the rampage, complaining about this humiliation and a lack of service delivery.

Ward 13 includes France, Nyamazane, Denmark, Buffer, Slangspruit, Marikana and the Aloe Ridge government flats.

Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said: “A total of 43 suspects aged between 23 and 45 have been arrested for public violence.”

Ward councillor Sibongile Mncwango said the protest started in one part of the township on Monday, but quickly spread across ward 13 and went on through the night and into the morning.

The protesters also closed the R56 between Pietermaritzburg and Richmond.

“Their biggest complaint is sewage. Their toilets are pit toilets located directly next to their houses. They get backed up and flood the houses. I have witnessed incidents where homeowners had to ‘scoop’ the waste using a jug.

“You cannot eat once you see, and smell, what is happening inside those homes. I have told the municipality that a vehicle removing solid waste needed to be placed in that area. But they said the vehicle was broken,” she said.

Mncwango said the residents were angry about the lack of service delivery.

“There is no development in this ward. They don’t even have a community hall, and when I call meetings I have to hold them under a tree,” Mncwango said.

“I have been a councillor since 2016, and in that period I have witnessed the municipality failing to do something as simple as cutting grass.”

Mncwango said the protests could have been avoided.

“I warned the municipality that trouble was brewing as it was clear that the community was about to riot.

“In the run-up to the elections last week we pleaded with the community to vote, and they agreed but warned that right after the elections they would be taking to the streets in protest as the municipality was taking them for granted,” she said.

Msunduzi mayor Themba Njilo said the community had complained about toilets and housing.

“We have asked for Cogta (Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs) to lend us two of their ‘honey suckers’ to service the area.

“We have not received any reports of sewage flooding homes. If there are such cases, those people will be given priority,” he said.

THE MERCURY