Locals at Thulandivile in Mlungisi who barricaded Pelem Road with burning tyres and branches last Tuesday threatened to vandalise buildings under ward 17 councillor Mncedisi Mbengo because of overflowing sewage.
“Our houses and streets have been flooded with raw sewage for almost a month. We have been living in this filth and our councillor has done nothing about it. We have children, our parents have fallen sick and we have had enough. We have been living like this for years and we are tired,” said Zandile Ntantiso
The residents who had gathered in the streets chanted songs of disapproval indicating that they wanted Mbengo removed as councillor of that ward.
“Our councillor has no regard for us. Not once has he showed up to assess the situation. We have been calling for him for the past few weeks. This problem has persisted on and off for years. Our councillor has been out of reach since we raised the issue of unemployed youth in this area. He has been running away ever since.”
Ntantiso added that Chris Hani District Municipality (CHDM) also failed to attend to the problem. “We have to resort to violence to be heard,” she said.
“If this issue is not resolved we will vandalise his (the councillor’s) home, clinics and schools in this ward,” added another resident, Siphokazi Vali.
Speaking to The Rep Mbengo admitted that sewage flooding was an issue in the ward and the problem had been previously communicated. “Last year I spoke to officials from CHDM and we agreed that this problem would be sorted out. It is difficult to deal with something that is not within your ambit. I will soon call a ward meeting so that these issues can be further discussed.”
Ward 17 ANC branch secretary Lusanda Mahashe who had rushed to the scene of community unrest on behalf of Mbengo on Tuesday said the challenge, among others, was the drainage system which the municipality should maintain. “The problem is a pump that must be fixed and upon communication with CHDM deputy mayor Noncedo September we were told the municipality would try to change the pumps. On Wednesday I visited the site where workers were attending to the problem. We will follow up on whether the pump was completely changed as mentioned.”
Mahashe said a formal meeting was scheduled to take place at 5pm on Thursday to tackle other issues raised by community members.
CHDM spokesperson, Thobeka Mqamelo confirmed that sewer lines had been fixed. “The blockage was a result of failing pumps which were burnt during load shedding. A contractor is on site effecting repairs. Also, further exacerbating the issue, we discovered that loads of sand had infiltrated the sewer line due to rain and also foreign objects such as garbage. The line is continuously monitored to avoid further blockage as the pumps are not optimally functional yet,” she said.