‘We can’t live like this’

2019-06-25 15:00
A young woman from Denmark township near Imbali uses a basin with water to try and lower the sewage in their full pit toilet. PHOTO: Nompilo Kunene

A young woman from Denmark township near Imbali uses a basin with water to try and lower the sewage in their full pit toilet. PHOTO: Nompilo Kunene

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Disgruntled Denmark township residents, near Imbali, blockaded Si-khumbuzo Ngwenya Road, one of the township’s main access roads, with burning rubble and tyres on Monday, and demanded to be addressed by Premier Sihle Zikalala. 

The protest comes just a month after their last one with reasons for it ranging from unhappiness with the shortage of electricity and water, but their main concern is the sewerage system.

The irate residents vowed to continue causing unrest in the area until their main need, proper toilets and sanitation, is addressed.

“We have so many issues we’d like to have addressed such as housing, water and electricity but we want the toilet issue to take top priority.

“We’re still using pit toilets and they’re full now, which is very unhygienic,” said a resident who asked not to be named.

An elderly blind woman, who also asked not to be named, told The Witness that after telling the ward councillor, Sibongile Mncwango, about her full pit toilet, people came to her home with a honey sucker vehicle but left without helping her.

“After inspecting the toilet, they told me that I should use a long stick to mix the sewage myself before they could suck it up. So they just left the toilet like that,” she said.

Another angry resident, who also asked not to be named, said they had followed proper protocol when it came to reporting their grievances.

They first approached their ward councillor about their problems, but say she did nothing. They then took the matter up with Mayor Themba Njilo, but claim that he too failed them.

“That’s why we’re now demanding to be addressed by none other than Premier Zikalala himself.

“If he also fails to listen to us then we want President [Cyril] Ramaphosa to intervene because we can’t go on living like bush animals,” said a resident.

Mncwango, went with Msunduzi Muncipality officials to Denmark on Monday morning.

Msunduzi Municipality Speaker Jabu Ngubo told The Witness that she pleaded with the disgruntled community members to calm down as the council was working on addressing their problems.

“I told them that we don’t just look at Denmark in isolation because there are other wards and townships such as France, Mpumelelo, Dambuza and Mvuzo, who also have sewerage, infrastructure and electricity problems that need urgent intervention,” she added.

Ngubo said the municipality has deployed honey sucker vehicles to handle the sanitation situation at Denmark, Mpumelelo and France as an interim measure.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  service delivery protests

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