stench in drain pains residents

Elisha Molefe

Elisha Molefe

Until recently Jeremiah Motata of the RDP section at Itsoseng township near Lichtenburg, North West, was the proud owner of a eye-catching garden.

Now his pride and joy is littered with used condoms, sanitary pads and excrement that have spewed from a blocked drain next to his house.

Motata, 70, says he cannot tolerate the stench and filth any longer.

"I am asthmatic and this pungent smell will aggravate my condition. I am left with one option: to leave this house and go rent a room somewhere else."

Motata and his neighbours have had to put up with the unbearable smell for more than three weeks.

His neighbour Madisang Mokete is also at his wits' end.

"We have been complaining to the municipality for weeks, but nothing is happening. All we see is a group of municipal workers loitering around the pipes doing nothing," Mokete said.

The workers cheerfully agree he is right. They say they spend most of their workdays lounging about aimlessly because the municipality took all the equipment they need.

"We'd really like to help but we cannot do anything without the proper equipment," said one of the workers, who asked to remain anonymous.

Charles Nkgwana, the municipality's maintenance manager for Itsoseng, blames the situation on thieves who steal manhole covers to sell to scrapyards. "The manholes are left uncovered and it becomes easy for children to throw stones inside them," he said.

Nkgwana said the blocked drain could only be cleared if the Lichtenburg municipality lent him heavy machinery.

Oupa Sebolai, Ditsobotla's acting municipal manager, said his office had not been informed about the Itsoseng residents' plight.

"I will be phoning the relevant people to try and find out why it has taken them so long to solve that problem," he promised.

In the meantime, the stench and filth still permeate the area.