By Cllr. Lizelle Steyn, DA Councillor in eMalahleni:
Municipal sewer running through the dam at Afrisam Zeekoewater down the river in to the Klein Olifantsriver, has been a major concern for almost a year now, to the this end the eMalahleni council is unable to fix this problem.
The Local restaurants down the street are complaining because patrons are avoiding their businesses due to the unbearable smell they have to live with on a daily basis.
This issue of sewer overflowing into the river dates back to almost a year. Mr Theo van Vuuren, acting, Municipal Manager was informed about this issue several times with no action from the municipality thus far. Sometime ago, Mr van Vuuren claimed to have resolved this issue, however, the efforts were unsuccessful.
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The DA is extremely concerned that the municipality can leave a problem such as this to go on for a year with no proper solution in place. Residents are left with nowhere to go to report the municipality.
If the municipality is failing so dismally that they can’t even find the cause of the problem, where does this leave the residents? Recently the municipality claimed to have fixed the problem, however, the problem still persist to this day. What the Municipality did, was just to divert the stream to the river from the manhole.
The latest response from Mr. van Vuuren reads as follows:
Mr van Vuuren replied 15 May 2015:
“As municipality we are as keen as everyone affected to correct this situation. The problem seems that nobody can exactly find the cause of the problem as we already determined through previous investigations that the design and capacity of the lines are correct. As a result a consultant was appointed and verified the above and at this point in time a team is busy doing an investigation on the whole line using cameras which try to detect underground obstacles or pipe breaks. The results of this investigation will be with our engineer, Ben Botes, by Wednesday next week. Based on that we will be able to make an informed decision on a permanent solution”
While council is busy with investigations, there are currently two other sewer manholes overflowing again at Afrisam site. The sewer spillage is affecting properties on the West side next to Del Judor Property, and the other at the bridge in Mandela street close to Brazen Head.
The previous temporary repairs that were done two weeks ago by the contractors appointed by the municipality are not completed.
This kind of pollution does not only chase business away from restaurants, but it also has severe health implications to employees who mainly work at Afrisam.
Employees and resident cannot be expected to inhale and live with such a smell for over a year and still be healthy. It is unacceptable that people are exposed to such conditions on a daily basis.
Mr van Vuuren must treat this matter with the urgency it deserves. People’s health must be considered and this issue must be dealt with to afford employees at Afrisam and nearby businesses an opportunity to work in a much more acceptable environment that is not a health risk.