Residents fed up with having to clean up sewage spills

Sewage overspill into Tafelsig residents’ backyards and into their roads.

Tafelsig residents are fed up with having to clean up sewage which overflows into their backyards and the roads around their homes.

Shaheema May, said they had been battling to get the City of Cape Town to come clean the mess, which residents have had to clean up for more than a month.

“We’ve lodged complaints but no one is coming to assist us. It doesn’t seem to interest the City,” she said.

Ms May said there are children growing up in the stench and poo floating in the water.

“Drains are broken already and people need help getting out of their homes because of the sewage flooding,” she said

“Teenage boys have had to clean up the roads and people can fall into broken drains. We are neighbours trying to help each other. If the child is going to fall into the drain, who is going to do what for the mother,” she asked.

Tania Hendricks, from Cape Coloured Congress (CCC) in Ward 92, said they were not getting any response from their ward councillor.

“The people are waiting for them to come out and this is the community’s health at stake,” she said.

Ms Hendricks said that CCC proportional representative councillor Duwayne Jacobs had also lodged a complaint but only when the media questions the City do they send officials.

“This was very much a team effort. Neighbours helping each other to keep their roads clean,” she said.

This has been an on and off situation since before the local government elections in November (“Tafelsig granny fed-up with sewage overflow”, Plainsman, October 20, 2021).

Patricia van der Ross, mayoral committee member for community services and health, said last week that the Plainsman’s enquiry had alerted environmental health as no complaint had been registered at the Mitchell’s Plain environmental health office, in Westridge.

“The environmental health practitioner responsible for this area will visit these premises to assess the progress made to resolve this issue,” she said.

Mayoral committee member for water and sanitation Dr Zahid Badroodien said they only received complaints last Wednesday, May 18, and that it had been attended to.

“The City has attended to the problem soon after the complaint was logged,” he said.

He said that the responsible water and sanitation teams were cleaning the pipeline regularly and that properties flooded with sewage had been disinfected.

Dr Badroodien said foreign objects and fats in remained the main causes of blockages.

“The City continuously repairs damage from vandalism and clears sewers blocked by inappropriate items that shouldn’t be in the sewer pipeline.

“Overflows, however, will continue to happen, as long as misuse or vandalism occurs, and sewers continue to be blocked by items that should not be in the system such as material and fats,” he said.

He reminded residents that only toilet paper and human waste should be flushed.

“Anything else can create a blockage,” he said.

Landlords with backyard tenants should ensure that there are enough wheelie bins to accommodate the volumes of waste generated on the property, so it can be removed by the City’s weekly refuse collection service, he added.

Without this, the refuse is often disposed into toilets, drains or manholes.

Anyone who has any information about vandalism incidents needs to please report it to the SAPS.

“We need the community to be our eyes and ears as we cannot afford to see service delivery to vulnerable communities hijacked by a few opportunistic criminals,” said Dr Badroodien.

To report vandalism in progress, call 107 from a landline, 021 480 7700 from a cell phone and the local police station.

Report vandalism damages, sewer blockages, missing drain covers, burst pipes, leaks and water wastage online www.capetown.gov.za/servicerequests, email water@capetown.gov.za, SMS 31373, call 086 010 3089 or visit a City walk-in centre.