Parents fear for children’s safety after pipe burst

2015-05-20 06:00

A LOCAL community says they have been left in the lurch by the municipality after a pipe burst two months ago causing damage to houses with children getting severely ill – and nothing is being done to repair the water leak.

Bloemendal community members say they are fed up with their situation after two kids were hospitalised with pneumonia due to their waterlogged homes after a municipal pipe burst at a nearby school.

The community said they have alerted the municipality countless times but no one has come to fix the problem.

Greenville Primary School caretaker, George Gerwel said the school’s water pipe burst weeks ago and water started flowing to neighbouring homes. “The leakage has caused a lot of problems in the neighbouring houses and the kids at the school can’t even play outside,” said Gerwel.

Gerwel said the school has been put under enormous strain due to the litres of water flowing out. The water also attracts frogs. “It is so dirty and kids run around the area. The municipality came once to inspect but never came to fix the problem,” he said.

A neighbour, Gaylene Jacobs, who stays in Burke Street and whose house has been damaged by the water leak, said her 6-month old baby was admitted to hospital for five days with double pneumonia because of the water leak.

“It is affecting us and it is causing a lot of damage to both the house and the children’s health. I am scared that this will cause irreparable damage to my child’s health,” she added.

Gaylene said the water flows into her house and turns green. “We are sitting with this problem and I have developed a pain in my leg because of this problem. We can’t live with water in the house. The kids are unsafe and we have told the municipality that something needs to be done,” said Gaylene.

Another neighbour, Fellen Dissel, said she has also had to hospitalise her 12-year-old child because of the leak.

“My child has asthma and she can’t breathe. What can we do now? If the municipality thinks we are going to let this continue they are wrong. We are angry. Over 6 families are affected and all these families have young kids, not to mention the children at the school,” said Dissel.

While visiting the Greenville Primary school, the PE Express reporter tried to communicate with officials from the Education Department who were there to inspect the problem, but they refused to speak to the reporter. Gerwels said the Education Department was only now coming to inspect the problem.

Community leader, Abdulah Johaar said he had called lawyers to take pictures and demand action by the municipality. “My 70-year-old mother, who can’t move, sits in her lounge with water running under her. I also have kids with sinus problems. I could give a whole list of people that have been affected by the water,” said Johaar.

Johaar said the drains in Burke Street are flooded and clogged as a result of the problem.

In February Die Burger reported on another burst pipe in Uitenhage that had been left un- attended by the municipality with losses of 3 mega litres daily.

The leak was coming from a 45cm diametre pipeline.

DA leader in Nelson Mandela Bay, Retief Odendaal said this was a travesty as the pipe was huge and needed the municipality’s full attention.

“It doesn’t look like the Metro is committed to solving the problems with water leaks. It’s a travesty to note that even though we are faced with water restrictions in the coming weeks, there are pipelines which are pouring water out wastefully,” said Odendaal.

According to Odendaal, the Municipality lost R329 million on water leaks last year, with 40% of that in the July to November period.

“We supply 300 mega litres a day to the greater NMB and those litres lost in that pipe could go a long way,” said Odendaal.

No comment was received by the municipality at time of going to print

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