WATCH | Pietermaritzburg golf course flooded by raw sewage from damaged pipes

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The Maritzburg Golf Club has lost all faith in Msunduzi Municipality after years of trying to get them to fix the damaged and overflowing pipes spilling raw sewage onto the golf course.

Ian Dickenson, a member of the Maritzburg Golf Cub committee, said the issue has been going on for years.

“We’ve tried all avenues to get the problem sorted and unfortunately, they [Msunduzi municipality] are bone idle,” he said.

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Dickenson told The Witness that Msunduzi employees have come several times to try and fix the problem, but they only made it worse.

“The initial problem was that the pipes were blocked so everything was overflowing. Msunduzi’s employees came and chopped holes in the pipes and left. Now it’s worse. The workers work for 15 minutes then sleep under the trees.”

He said the raw sewage is flooding the golf course and golfers can’t get across the sewage to the golfing holes.

“We get visitors from other cities and they are confronted by this ungodly stench and flooding. It’s disgusting.

“Not only is this a health hazard, but why is it that ratepayers of Pietermaritzburg have to put up with this? It’s running directly into the Duzi River.

“It’s huge volumes of sewage. Raw, raw sewage. There are sanitary towels in there, condoms and all sort of rubbish floating into the river.”

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Dickenson said the workers have to place sandbags on the golf course to stop the sewage from running to certain areas.

“The municipal workers, who are supposed to be doing this, sit under the tree watching golf course workers do what they’re supposed to be doing,” said Dickenson.

Dickenson said they will be hiring a back-anchor machine at the golf club’s expense to dig up trenches to try and divert the sewage.

He said Msunduzi always says it has no budget for the repairs.

“That’s because taxpayers’ monies are being stolen. Those corrupt people should be charged with treason. They should be locked up, not just for 25 years, but for 25 years with hard labour. Those same people should come here with spades and shovels to do this work,” he said.

The waste campaigner for Pietermaritzburg-based environmental NGO, GroundWorks, Musa Chamane said he has heard about the sewage spill in the area.

“If that sewage flows into the river, remember that a lot of people are on different types of medication, so when they go to the toilet and then their sewage goes into the river, many toxic chemicals will end up in the river. This contaminates the environment and affects, and can even kill, aquatic life.”

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Regarding the damaged pipes, Chamane said this just proves that Msunduzi Municipality is not maintaining their systems and that is a problem.

“If these pipes have been [having problems] on several occasions, it means Msunduzi’s system is dilapidated and they need to change the whole pipe and replace it with a new pipe. This proves that our municipality is in trouble and they are not prepared to fix things and do things properly,” said Chamane.

Msunduzi Municipality’s spokesperson, Thobeka Mafumbatha, has not yet responded questions sent to her by The Witness earlier today.

• nompilo.kunene@witness.co.za
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