Standerton sewage crisis | 'We live in a pigsty'

Residents of Standerton, in Mpumalanga, which falls under the Lekwa local municipality, say they have had to contend with poor service delivery, including neglect of the sewer system, burst water pipes, dug-up roads and uncollected rubbish for years. 

"The whole of Standerton is rotten with heaps of waste dumps, smelly sewage and we live like pigs," said  Sibeko.

The parents of an eight-year-old girl who was rescued after she fell into an open raw sewage drain in Standerton town say she survived the ordeal by sheer luck.

The girl, whose parents asked that her name be withheld, was rescued by her dad and uncle who were mowing the lawn in the yard when she fell into the sewage drain last Sunday.

Residents say they had reported the open sewage drains for more than two years to the municipality but nothing has been done. 

The sewage crisis in Standerton, Mpumalanga, is causing tension between neighbours who are desperately trying to find a solution to the long standing problem of stinking runoffs in neighbourhoods.

Pheelo Tsotetsi, a resident of Ext 8, told Sowetan that the situation had pitted him against his neighbour as he decided to install a pipe in his home to redirect sewage flow away to the streets passing through a neighbour's property.

It's not business as usual in Standerton for small business people because of the sewage nightmare in the area. 

From town to the townships, business owners are faced with complaining customers every day. 

Mpumelelo Mahlangu owns a hair salon in the CBD. She said customer numbers have dropped drastically in the past year because of the sewage that flows onto the streets.

“In the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity.”

This famous quote by German mathematician and physicist Albert Einstein has been brought to life in Standerton by resident Sifiso Ndlovu and her family, who seized the opportunity brought on by service delivery failures to start a recycling business.

Slindile May lives next to a leaking water reservoir that has turned her yard into a wetland.

A knee-deep trench has been left open in front of her gate, forcing her to access her home via her neighbour's property. May, a resident of Leyds Street in Standerton, Mpumalanga, said she is no longer sure if it is worth paying her municipal bills while her problems cannot be solved.

"The front of my house has not been dry for the past two years and it gets worse every day.

For motorists in Standerton, driving on the potholed streets and roads in and around the Mpumalanga town can be a matter of life and death.

The local taxi industry knows that fact very well as daily users of the town's roads, and is still shaken by the horror of a colleague's death last year.

Taxi driver Willy Nkabinde lost his life on the R50 – Standerton to Leandra road – after a truck that was avoiding a pothole drove into the oncoming traffic and collided with his Toyota Quantum head-on.

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