WATCH: Pupils left stranded as Durban school forced to close over leaking sewerage drain

Published May 24, 2023


Learning has been halted at Durban’s St Augustine’s Catholic Primary School in Greyville after a sewerage drain leak has seen raw sewage seeping into play areas, the school’s assembly area and even the school hall.

IOL visited the school this week, and the unbearable stench emanating from the drain can be smelled from the school entrance.

School Governing Body chairperson, Nomvuyo Mthethwa, said the leak started on May 12, and the school has been closed since.

We were concerned that this is a health hazard and no learning can take place,” she said.

Mthethwa said they had contacted the various departments to notify them of what was going on.

“What we need is the engineering unit because they have the plans, and the servitude belongs to the eThekwini Municipality,” she said.

“If it happens that this problem is going to take longer to be resolved, we need an alternative venue to accommodate our teachers and pupils so learning can continue.”

According to the Basic Education Department in KwaZulu-Natal, pupils cannot be accommodated at other schools due to space constraints.

Department spokesperson, Muzi Mahlambi, said the situation is beyond their reach and needs to be addressed by the eThekwini Municipality.

“We are relying on the municipality to fix the problem. The sewage is also leaking onto the road and neighbouring areas, and the smell is so unbearable. This can be fixed within a day and needs to be addressed so learning can continue,” Mahlambi said.

IOL visited the school this week, and the unbearable stench emanating from the drain can be smelled from the school entrance. Picture: Se-Anne Rall

The City’s Lindiwe Khuzwayo said the matter had been prioritised.

“The City is aware of the matter, and a team will be dispatched to clear the blockage,” Khuzwayo said.

She explained that sewage leaks and blockages are caused by the presence of alien objects in the system.

The drain that has been spewing out sewage onto the school property. Picture: Se-Anne Rall

“Our sewage system is not built to handle objects such as paper, plastic, or any other foreign materials that do not dissolve or soften. These blockages remain a challenge we are experiencing daily in our communities because people who dispose of foreign objects into the system,” she said.

A puddle of sewage water in the school’s assembly area. Picture: Se-Anne Rall

“We are appealing to all our residents to desist from doing that and use the correct materials for sanitation purposes,” Khuzwayo said.

“We appeal to the teachers to also educate children about the effects of flushing foreign objects in the toilet.”