Morgenster residents fed up with filthy vlei

Morgenster residents Julian Roach, his wife Madge, their neighbours Randall Adams, Morgenster Service Forum chairman Sean Arief and Leslie January.

Morgenster residents say they can’t open their doors or host visitors because the canal close to homes is stinking, overgrown with weeds and attracting vermin.

The City of Cape Town says they have scheduled cleaning programmes and that residents can log emergency service requests.

Resident Madge Roach, in an email to the office of Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis, said that they have had enough of living in filth.

“We have to live with closed windows and doors in order to keep the pests out,” she wrote.

During December she had a rat in her ceiling.

“Flies, rats, mice and cockroaches breed in this area,” she said.

In the email she demanded a commitment and schedule as to how many times a year this problem would be addressed.

“It is not fair, we are rates paying citizens.

“We paid for our properties for over 30 years, and have been living here for so long, and have to phone, send emails for so long to get our area clean,” she said.

Ms Roach and her neighbours have filed several service requests for the canal to be cleaned, and overgrown grass and bushes to be cut.

Randall Adams, who lives a house away from the canal, said he could not invite guests for the festive season or open his patio door.

He said the stench during the summer was particularly bad.

“There is this nauseating smell,” he said.

Morgenster Service Forum chairman Sean Arief said they just wanted services to be delivered.

He said contract workers were doing the City’s work and residents have to pay the price for poor service delivery.

“They clean part of the road. Put the dirt in blue bags and then it sits for days, until the dogs scratch it open,” he said.

Solomon Philander, councillor for Ward 116 and chairman of Sub-council 12, said the vlei was one of the many service requests received from the community, since he was elected in November 2021.

“With the help of the community we reported a service request and this led to the proactive and reactive services received from the City,” he said.

Mr Philander said ERF 40986 was known as a vlei and zoned as public open space.

He explained that three departments were responsible for its maintenance.

“The City has sewer infrastructure that belongs to water and sanitation. Storm water flow into the vlei where Roads and transport is responsible for maintenance and then the public opens space is Recreation and Parks,” he said.

The team was out cleaning the Vlei on August 15 last year and will return on February 16 as per the schedule.

He said sewer infrastructure was lifted to reduce the overflowing of sewer in the vlei that caused other challenges.

The grass cutting was done last October and this month.

“Despite the schedule maintenance nothing stops the community to log service request,” he said.

The City’s environmental health department said they have assisted with rodent baiting in Estelle Crescent thrice last year, the last being November 22.

Rob Quintas, mayoral committee member for urban mobility, said the canal was cleaned three times a year.

This canal was last cleaned in August and the next scheduled cleaning date is Monday February 19, followed by a third cleaning planned for in June.

He said that the community should be on the lookout for and to report any illegal dumping.

“Illegal dumping into the sewer system also leads to the sewer overspilling into the stormwater canal. Thus, we also ask residents to refrain from dumping objects into the sewer system,” he said.

Mr Quintas said that the City’s Roads Infrastructure and Maintenance Department was responsible for cleaning the inlet and outlet structures, removing the reeds and vegetation inside the canal and on the canal banks.

The canal starts at Estelle Crescent and ends at Yvonne Street, and is about 165m in length. The rest of the stormwater system consists of underground conduits.

Mayoral committee member for finance, Siseko Mbandezi, said residents may submit a claim application to the City’s insurance claims section for compensation by completing a public liability claim form and providing all supporting information.

“This includes, but is not limited to, medical reports and invoices in respect of the costs incurred in respect of medical treatment,” he said.

Each claim is assessed on its own merit, which includes assessment of whether there has been any negligence or omission on the City’s side. Once the City has received the resident’s claim form or formal correspondence, a reference number would be provided for all future liaison.

Residents may visit the City’s website to find and complete the City’s public liability claim form