Residents accuse municipality of endangering their lives

2019-03-20 06:02
PHOTO: lethiwe makhanyaA septic tank that has been left open for two weeks.

PHOTO: lethiwe makhanyaA septic tank that has been left open for two weeks.

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SWARMS of flies and the stench of rot from an open septic tank is what we have to deal with everyday,” say residents of Peach Road in Woodlands.

According to residents, on February 28, they contacted the Msunduzi Municipality to repair a damaged septic tank but when municipal workers arrived all they did open the tank for repairs and then left.

They have not returned since, despite complaints to the municipality.

Rachel Sanker, whose yard the septic tanks are located in, said they can’t even open their windows because of the smell and the flies. There are three tanks and one was left open.

Sanker said that before the municipal workers came, her yard was flooded with faeces and urine because the septic tanks were blocked.

“We called the municipality for assistance, not for them to add more to our problems. I have children and I am sick — we can no longer live like this.

“When they [municipal workers] left that Thursday they promised they would return the following day but that never happened. We have been trying to contact them since then but whenever we start telling our story they hang up. We even went to City Hall last week but the security wouldn’t allow us in, saying that the relevant people are not available.

“We feel as if we are wasting our airtime because we are not getting any help. If they cannot fix it now they must at least put chemicals in so that it doesn’t smell,” she said.

Ellis Bhenje, a neighbour to Sanker, said they are all affected by the incident.

Bhenje said she has been forced to send her five-month-old granddaughter to live in town with relatives in fear that she will get sick.

“Although the septic tanks are in her yard, the smell and the flies affect us all. No one deserves to live like this.

“We live with our windows and doors shut now no matter how hot it is,” she said.

Resident Calvin Bently­ accused the municipal workers of putting his life in danger.

He claims the municipal workers told him to get inside the tanks and clean them.

“I told them that I do not have appropriate clothes and I do not work for the municipality but they insisted that I get in, in order for them to help us.

“I did it because I was feeling sorry for the children and old people who will get sick because of faeces that was overflowing. I do not know what is going to happen to my health in future because I am not trained for this job,” he said.

Echo requested comment from Msunduzi Municipality spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha but none was received before print deadline.


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