Community cracks down on allegedly poor work on sewer upgrade
Municipal inspectors and surveyors say they are not happy with work done to improve sewage systems in the North West communities of Lebaleng and Makwassie.
In 2011, Former Minister of Human Settlements Tokyo Sexwale appointed a task team to assess the state of sanitation nationally. The task team found that Makwassie and surrounding areas in Maquassi Hills Local Municipality were plagued by regular sewer blockages, according to a 2012 report.
The team argued blocked pipes were caused by factors including poor maintenance, as well as incorrectly laid pipes that were too deep to allow many standard tools to unblock them.
Sexwale’s task team also noted that blocked sewers regularly overflowed into streets, houses and storm drains, which led to the contamination of a nearby river.
Now, the municipality has begun upgrading Makwassie’s local sewer system, but concerns have surfaced about the quality of work early in the project. Workers have alleged that the company hired to lay new sewage pipes have already begun laying the pipes incorrectly. Based on workers’ concerns, local ward counsellors recently inspected repairs undertaken by Unity Construction.
Unity Construction Site Manager Mash Magagula denied worker allegations that repairs had been done incorrectly.
“We have almost 12 years experience working about sewerage pipelining,” he told OurHealth. “This information is really wrong”.
However, on a subsequent visit, inspectors, surveyors and municipal workers were not happy with the work and have requested that Unity Construction remove the pipes it has installed and redo the work.
Community Learning Officer Simon Teko Mothibedi applauded the municipality’s monitoring of the sewer upgrade. He added that companies hired in the past to address sewage issues in the area had allegedly never completed work on the pipes despite having been paid.
“Workers took a good decision to (tell us) this information,” Mothibedi told OurHealth. “The surveyors and inspectors have promised us that they will avail themselves everyday to make sure that construction (workers) are doing a great job.”
According to Local Ward 11 Counsellor Doctor Mohadi, the upgrade of sewage pipes in the Makwassie area is expected to be completed by September 2015.