The canal is said to have not been cleaned due to worker disputes which led to the contractor having to dismiss four employees tasked with ensuring the canal was free from harmful germs.
The residents say they have complained about the dirt and health risk to their ward councillor Bongani Ngcombolo on several occasions.
Rubble and sewerage fill the passage ways, making it hard for residents to walk around. They have resorted to social media to complain about the issue, saying they have lost all hope in the intervention of their ward councillor.
According to Ngcombolo, the workers do not want to adhere to the contractor’s rules.
“The problem is that these people want to work according to their own terms and when the employer tells them what to do, they run to the rest of the community and want to destabilise it,” he said.
Residents refute Ngcombolo’s claims and say the workers had not received contracts of employment and were let go.
According to Athembele Nengesi, the dirty water has also caused a break-out of a rashes among the children. Rats dig holes under their shacks causing the dirty water to seep through.
Mxolisi Sonjica, 41, was left paralysed after a work accident in April. He now struggles to move around and, according to his partner, Buziwe Maniyo, 35, “it gets worse when we have to go to the clinic or the toilet”.
City of Cape Town media manager Luthando Tyhalibongo said: “The clean-up operation of the canal between Barcelona and Kanana informal settlements started this week.”