Shack dwellers in Duncan Village, East London, accuse their councillor of doing nothing about overflowing sewage in their area.
In turn she has accused residents of vandalising the toilets. “Residents must learn to take care of their own sanitation system,” she says.
Area 15 in C Section is home to nearly 300 people living in shacks. They share one tap and two functioning toilets. They have no electricity.
Resident Bongani Kweya said, “The dirty water from this drain goes all the way down and stops by my shack. I even tried to dig a trench for it to flow… The whole area here stinks … We really cannot bear the smell.”
Sinazo Khalimashe said, “The smell gets worse every day. Sometimes I sleep at my friend’s place to avoid being around this. You see human waste flowing with the dirty water.
I have reported this to the councillor and she keeps on promising that something will be done about it, but it never happens.”
Resident and ward committee member Mpana Ngemntu said there had been no electricity since 2014 when the electricity supply box was damaged in a fire. A new box had been brought but had not been connected.”It is not working and just an ornament.”
“Our ward councillor lives very close, in Toilet City, but her house has a functional sewerage system. She appears as someone who doesn’t care about us … We have written her several letters asking her to community meetings but she has never bothered coming,” said Ngemntu.
Ward 2 councillor Ntombizandile Mhlola denied the claims made by residents. “Those are just people who do not want to see me as a councillor in this area. I have a lot of areas to look after within the metro. I cannot really focus on one area. I also inherited some of the issues here from the previous councillor.”
Mhlola said, “Littering and vandalism propagated by residents sometimes contributes to the problem of blocked drains. Sometimes people dump things that do not belong in drains. They dump used diapers and bones, which make the drains get clogged. Residents must learn to take care of their own sanitation system. ”
Mkhuseli Nongogo, Engineering and Sanitation Programmes Manager for the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality, said, “The municipality will look into the drain issue this financial year. However, it is the people’s duty to take care of drains by looking at what they dump [in them].”
“As the municipality we will make sure we follow up on this as soon as possible. That is all I can say.”