Seeping effluent dams up against houses in Port Elizabeth

William Lervler and his wife Caroline, both 69, battle to step out of their home as they risk falling into sewage
WE’RE STYMIED: William Lervler and his wife Caroline, both 69, battle to step out of their home as they risk falling into sewage
Image: Supplied

Residents of Booysen Park in Port Elizabeth have had to place rocks and planks outside their front doors to hop, skip and leap over the sewage which has seeped into their gardens and right up to the front door.

And while the municipality has since unblocked the drain which was causing the sewage spills, nothing has been done to remove the subsequent effluent which has dammed around at least 10 houses in the area.

Qunu informal settlement resident Sandile Songwiqi, 40, said the community believed the sewerage infrastructure needed to be replaced completely as the continuous unblocking of drains was proving futile.

“We were never told what is the problem with the sewerage infrastructure that causes it to continuously spill. Qunu is dirty and we tried to engage with the municipality,” Songwiqi said.

A woman who asked not to be named said they had been relocated in 2013 and had been suffering with sewage problems ever since.

She said though the municipality had unblocked the municipal drain on Thursday, it would be blocked again by the end of the month if past experience was anything to go by.

She added she feared for the health of her three children.

Another resident, Brenda Smith, said her seven-year-old son had fallen ill after playing in the sewage.

“He started to vomit, he couldn’t eat, my child was right at these spillages. The doctor said the water is contaminated.”

William Lervler and his wife Caroline said they feared if they got Covid-19 they wouldn’t survive as they had no access to clean water.

Morina Alexander said they couldn’t eat with the smell worsening at night.

Songwiqi said the municipality needed to come to Qunu to explain how it had fixed the blockage and yet failed to clean the sewage problem.

Failing to do so would see residents protest about the lack of service delivery on September 9, he said.

Municipal spokesperson Mamela Ndamase said: “We have noted the query, our officials will follow up on it.”


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