Sewage lands on lunch

In 2011, a national task team noted the deplorable state of sewage systems in Makwassie, which regularly overflowed into streams, homes and rivers due to blockages (File photo)
More than one in ten South African households have no access to sanitation services
OurHealth also reported about unresolved and recurring sewage spills in Soshanguve in September 2013

Koketso Mabunda of Soshanguve’s Block M was enjoying lunch under a tree in his yard a loud explosion sent sewage spewing out of the ground – and onto his plate.

Mabunda – and his lunch – are the latest victims of blocked drains in the township about 25 kms north of Pretoria. He says these kinds of bursts happen often, and that he and his neighbours are tired of reporting the same thing all the time.

Residents say that block drains frequently send human waste, and used condoms and sanitary pads gushing out onto the ground – sometimes near the Tipfuxeni Primary and Tiyelelani Secondary schools.

“Our health is in danger,” Mabunda told OurHealth. “Imagine the consequences of eating human waste from your plate?

“The thing just spoiled my lunch,” he added.

Peter Makhubedu was with Mabunda when the sewage explosion happened. He has not been able to get the putrid smell of sewage out of his mind.

“It’s been three days now and I still feel nauseas,” Makhubedu said. “When I drink water or eat food, I think of that terrible thing.”

Anna Ndlovu lives near a manhole that often bursts and said she does not know what to do anymore. She added that she has had to pay people to clean up the disgusting mess left by previous blocked drains.

While the municipality does come to unblock drains in Soshanguve, Mabunda alleges work crews come late, and often leave after unblocking the drain but before they have cleaned up the sewage.

A waste management personnel who asked to remain anonymous took OurHealth through Block M houses that face recurring sewerage bursts and said that workers do everything they can ” that sewerage pressure in the area is very high.”


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