Forced to live in filth

2019-08-29 16:23
Piles of waste and sludge litter Ash Road in The Village, next to Jika Joe.

Piles of waste and sludge litter Ash Road in The Village, next to Jika Joe.

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Cries for “basic human rights” have fallen on deaf ears while people living in The Village and Jika Joe are forced to continue living, eating and sleeping next to piles of rancid rubbish and sludgy sewage.

Residents said they have been complaining to Msunduzi about their living conditions since late 2016, with one of the locals even sending an e-mail to the South African Human Rights Commission begging for assistance.

Driving through The Village, next to Jika Joe, one can see stagnant, dirty water and sewage in the streets with litter floating on top of the filthy liquid.

Children could be seen playing at illegal dumpsites at the roadside in The Village, while Jika Joe residents are forced to live, eat, sleep and do their washing less than three metres from the piles of trash.

Village resident Ridwaan Fenner said the residents felt their “basic human rights are being compromised due to municipal and government neglect in the area”.

Fenner said The Village came into existence around 1994 and that their community along with Jika Joe, have “no basic services like electricity, sanitation and refuse. Children play in the rubbish after school. It is a health hazard.

“We are plagued with continuous electricity outages, piling rubbish and waste, and unbearable odours.”

He said they had been in contact with various mayors and councillors in Msunduzi since 2010 but nothing had been done except a single clean-up in 2017 by former mayor Themba Njilo.

Another resident from The Village, who asked not to be named for fear of victimisation, said they were being forced to stay in “filthy conditions” but still had to pay rates. He said while the majority of Jika Joe did not pay rates, it did not give the municipality the right to neglect the basic services in the area. “There is leaking sewage, and water and rubbish everywhere. There are huge rats roaming the area and you can see them crossing the road while children are playing.”

Msunduzi municipal spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said on Wednesday that the appointment of the administrator and recently the new leadership, is aimed at spearheading service delivery and improving the lives of the people of Msunduzi Municipality. “There are planned developments for the Jika Joe area in the form of housing. The municipality is in the process of employing a waste manager who will be responsible for keeping the city clean as part of his/her responsibilities,” said Mafumbatha. “The administrator is busy workshopping his turnaround strategy that will be implemented to turn the City’s fortunes around. The people of Msunduzi remain a focal point for service delivery. Msunduzi Municipality will be embarking on cleaning campaigns to ensure that the city is clean,” she said.

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