When the Ntsholo family visits a local clinic, they are treated like regular customers at a restaurant – nurses ask them: “the usual?” This is because they have been in and out of the clinic so many times that nurses even have nicknames for them. The family lives opposite a dirty canal in Nkanini informal settlement in Lwandle, where residents dump dirty water. The family gets sick so often from this water which, when it rains, runs into their shack. “We all have sores on our bodies. We have lost count of how many times we have visited the clinic for treatment,” said Sizeka Ntsholo (40), who is still looking after her six-year-old son who became the latest victim. The canal was dug in 2005 when the construction of Onverwacht Road commenced, and it was supposed to channel water from Chris Nissen Park past Nomzamo to Strand.But the rise of informal settlements made it impossible for the water to run freely as people use it as a rubbish dump. Ntsholo told City Vision she even tried building a wall sometime last year, but it did not help. “I built the wall to prevent the water and the flies from coming in, but that did not help. The municipality must put in pipes here so that the water can run freely before we die.”Anda Ntsodo, Mayoral Committee member for Area East, said certain areas of the canal are not accessible with machinery due to a lack of space, given the informal structures and overhead cables. “In these instances, Expanded Public Work Programme workers are brought in to assist with the clean-up where machinery cannot be used,” he explained. The City plans to dispatch a machine and truck to work in the canal to address this problem, Ntsodo added. “Furthermore, the Solid Waste Management Cleansing Department removes visible waste on the banks of the canal, as well as what can be reached by rake. Their team is currently assisting the Transport and Urban Development Authority in cleaning the waste residues,” he said. Ntsodo urged locals to refrain from dumping in the canal, and to use the blue bags and wheelie bins to dispose of refuse.