Overflowing sewage, no electricity, one tap and two toilets for more than 300 residents

2018-10-03 10:43
Residents of C Section in Duncan Village, East London, say they live in squalor. (Chris Gilili, GroundUp)

Residents of C Section in Duncan Village, East London, say they live in squalor. (Chris Gilili, GroundUp)

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Shack dwellers in Duncan Village, East London, have accused their councillor of doing nothing about overflowing sewage in their area. In turn, she has accused residents of vandalising the toilets.

"Residents must learn to take care of their own sanitation system," councillor Ntombizandile Mhlola said.

According to a GroundUp report, Area 15 in C Section is home to nearly 300 people who live in shacks. They share one tap and two functioning toilets. They have no electricity.

"The dirty water from this drain goes all the way down and stops [at] my shack. I even tried to dig a trench for it to flow… The whole area here stinks... We really cannot bear the smell," resident Bongani Kweya said.

Sinazo Khalimashe shared Kweya's sentiments.

"The smell gets worse every day. Sometimes I sleep at my friend's place to avoid being around this. You see human waste flowing with the dirty water. I have reported this to the councillor and she keeps on promising that something will be done about it, but it never happens."


According to another resident, ward committee member Mpana Ngemntu, there has been no electricity since 2014 when the electricity supply box was damaged in a fire. A new box had been brought but had not been connected.

"It is not working and [is] just an ornament."

"Our ward councillor lives very close, in Toilet City, but her house has a functional sewerage system. She appears [to be] someone who doesn't care about us... We have written her several letters asking her to [attend] community meetings but she has never bothered coming," said Ngemntu.

But Mhlola denied residents' claims and said: "Those are just people who do not want to see me as a councillor in this area. I have a lot of areas to look after within the metro. I cannot really focus on one area. I also inherited some of the issues here from the previous councillor."

"Littering and vandalism propagated by residents sometimes contributes to the problem of blocked drains. Sometimes people dump things that do not belong in drains. They dump used [nappies] and bones, which make the drains get clogged. Residents must learn to take care of their own sanitation system," Mhlola added.

Mkhuseli Nongogo, Engineering and Sanitation Programmes Manager for the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality, said: "The municipality will look into the drain issue this financial year. However, it is the people's duty to take care of drains by looking at what they dump [in them]."

"As the municipality, we will make sure we follow up on this as soon as possible. That is all I can say."

Read more on:    east london  |  service delivery  |  protests

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