Strife over jobs delays town's sewer project

Tsilo Mongale's house is flooded by sewerage that flows into his yard. / KABELO MOKOENA
Tsilo Mongale's house is flooded by sewerage that flows into his yard. / KABELO MOKOENA

Residents of a Free State township are up in arms. The project intended to relieve the impact of sewage waste in the area has since stalled, with 10 households stranded amid the sewage floods.

Work on upgrading a sewer outfall in Petsana township in Reitz was brought to a halt last month by a group of residents. They claimed the Nketoana local municipality reneged on its promise to hire locals.

An engineering company Aditep Civils was awarded a R9m contract to complete the project.

However, little work has been done as a group of residents, Business Forum, has allegedly threatened workers and disrupted work.

Tseko Motholo, a member of the forum, said they did not want the work to continue because they were not consulted on how the community would benefit from the project.

The forum was recently slapped with a court interdict preventing it from interfering with the project. Mtholo confirmed the action.

Aditep managing director Ruhegeza Jean Mubyalano said in an affidavit the forum impeded the project.

Mubyalano said the project was started on November 19 but was stopped two days later by the forum.

"On November 22 these people came on site where the operator of an excavator was already busy with excavation work and was informed to leave the construction site," he said.

Tsilo Mongale, 61, a pensioner who was moved from his home in Petsana after it was surrounded by sewage, bemoaned her hard life's circumstances.

"Initially the waste ran past my house, but a few years later the sewage line was redirected and ran across my yard," Mongale told Sowetan during our visit to Petsana.

Mongale's abandoned home is immersed in waste water.

Another resident Mmokgo Moeti, 36, said they had been living in sewer squalor for the past three years.

"The problem became worse last year. That's when it (sewage waste) started flowing into my yard," Moeti said.

She said they felt helpless as the municipality knew about their plight.

"At least they moved Ntate Tsilo, but some of us have to live with the stench."

Mongale however is not happy about his move to "safety".

"The municipality moved me from my house in September. They said they would find me a stand to build a house."

Nketoana municipality manager Mzwandile Manzi did not respond to a request for comment yesterday.

makhethat@sowetan.co.za

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