Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Caucus Leader

There are appalling sewage problems in Midrand informal settlements that are a health hazard but are ignored by the authorities.

I observed this on my visit yesterday to various neglected areas in the east Midrand area as part of my “Don’t forget the forgotten” campaign.

I was accompanied by DA Midrand Constituency Head Dion George MP, and DA Councillors Inneth Mbatha and Richard Newby

Raw sewage flows in the street in Sophiatown informal settlement near Rabie Ridge.

This sewage problem has been there for 17 years, and appears to be from the overflow from a pipe that is too small.

A petition about the sewage and other problems in the area was handed in to the Johannesburg Metro Council by the DA on 10 November 2010 but nothing was done about it.

It is shocking that this petition has been ignored for so long, and Clr Newby will be pressing for the petition to be acted on by the council.

A number of shacks in Sophiatown are built under electric power lines and need to be relocated, and there is also a flooding problem.

Another bad sewage problem is the use of a storm water drain as a toilet in the Baghdad informal settlement because the chemical toilets there are largely broken. Residents use buckets and human waste often ends up in the drain.

Other problems identified on my visit include:

* More water taps are needed in Baghdad as residents have to cross over a storm water drain to get to the available taps.

* The Hikhensile clinic is short of nurses and also many medicines, including the anti-retroviral drug Tenofovir for HIV/Aids which horrified me as drug resistance builds up if there is treatment interruption.

* In Emalahleni informal settlement brass taps have been stolen and not replaced by plastic ones.

* Taps in the K60 informal settlement go dry over weekends, apparently because of extra use by residents.

I stayed overnight with Mr Philemon Masimbi at the Meriteng informal settlement in Kaalfontein. The main problem there is lack of electricity, terrible roads and no street lights.

This is my seventh overnight stay in a shack. I do it once a month to experience what it is really like for the forgotten people of this province.

It is always a very humbling experience to see how people endure in terrible conditions and do their best to thrive and be creative.

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