'Sewage forced us to leave our house'

Vusi Ndlovu

Vusi Ndlovu

The pungent smell of excrement rents the air in and around Themba Khumalo's house in Braamfischerville, Soweto, almost a week after overflowing raw sewage drove him and his wife out of their home.

Johannesburg Water insists he must fix the mess himself, forcing the couple to seek refuge at his parental home in neighbouring Mzimhlophe.

Spokesman Baldwin Matsimela said: "If it starts from the house it is his responsibility to fix it. We don't attend to individual problems. He must hire a private plumber."

The Khumalos now cannot live in their house because of the effluent.

Khumalo said their problem began last Tuesday when the waste matter spewed from the toilet into the yard.

"I had just returned home at about 7.30pm when I was hit by a bad smell. When I opened the door, water just gushed from the house. It was after I switched on the lights that I realised the house was flowing with sewage," he said.

When Sowetan visited the house yesterday the yard was littered with excreta and pieces of used toilet paper as well as pools of dirty, smelly water.

Khumalo said he had called Johannesburg Water, but to no avail. "They told me to clean the mess and that they would refund me. Why do I have to do it in the first place if they are going to pay me back?"