by Cllr Reinette Liebenberg – DA Councillor Sol Plaatje Municipality
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Date: 24 July 2018
The DA has written to the Green Scorpions and the Public Protector, asking them to investigate gross human rights violations perpetrated by the Sol Plaatje Municipality against Kimberley residents.
At least six households in Thusano, Galeshewe, have been exposed to raw sewerage since February this year.
Together with Councillor Ofentse Mokae, I conducted an oversight inspection of the area last week to assess the situation. See photos here and here.
We found that affected yards have literally been transformed into sewage dams. The foundations of the affected RDP homes remain damp and a brand new cupboard of one resident has corroded as a result. Another resident has to keep her baby inside, for risk of her drowning in the garden, whilst another has carefully packed a brick bridge over the sludge to enable her to get to the washing line.
At another house, a physically disabled man cannot move around the garden safely and therefore cannot access the outdoor toilet facilities available to the household. He now has to resort to using a bucket inside the house.
Residents, their children and their dogs are suffering. They are exposed to unhygienic living conditions that are currently threatening their wellbeing. The effect of poor ventilation in houses, in an effort to keep the stench at bay, is further aggravating the risk of contracting disease.
The matter has on numerous occasions been reported to the municipality. In fact, just two weeks ago, Cllr Ronnie Morwe, Chair of the IDP committee, confirmed on the Sol Plaatje WhatsApp group that the Mayor’s Service Delivery Rapid Response Team were dealing with it. Still nothing has been done.
Sol Plaatje Municipality is purposefully turning a blind eye to old, shoddy and inadequate sewerage infrastructure across the city. Major challenges exist regarding the city’s sewerage infrastructure. The municipality only makes use of short term contractors to resolve isolated sewerage problems. They also like to blame all blockages on human error. While this certainly does play a role, there is more to the blockages than just the flushing of unsuitable items down drains.
This is the result of a combination of poor planning, as evidenced by the Pescodia High School in Roodepan and the Northern Cape Mall that were both constructed on top of sewer lines. The mall now has to spend R4 million to rectify the error. Furthermore, the inferior pipelines cannot cope with the rapid expansion and development in the city. There is a lack of foresight and budgetary allocations towards maintaining and upgrading the sewer network.
The people of Sol Plaatje have suffered enough under Mayor Matika’s ANC government that does not care about the wellbeing or health of Kimberley residents.
The municipality can no longer ignore calls to fix the sewerage system and despite budget shortfalls of approximately R110 milllion, will have to find a way to address the burgeoning sewerage crisis in Kimberley, or risk plunging the entire city into a swamp of raw sewage.
Only change under a DA-led government will ensure the necessary upgrading and maintenance of infrastructure to ensure quality services and a safe and clean environment.
Cllr Reinette Liebenberg
DA Councillor Sol Plaatje Municipality
071 733 2640
071 251 5558