Sunday service has not smelt the same for years at the New Apostolic Church in Birch Acres, Kempton Park.
There has been faeces between the pews and recurring garden floaters in the neighbourhood as the Norkem Park Pan continues to spew sewage-infused water, damaging homes, gardens and roads.
“It may look like the Vlakplaas sewerage farm,” says Democratic Alliance spokesperson on water, energy and sanitation Simon Lapping, “but we are in the middle of the suburbs.”
And residents have had enough.
Ben Grobler who has lived in the same house for two decades, says the problem started about a decade ago.
“I don’t know what to do any more because my house is in the swamp,” he says.
Next door to the church, homeowners abandoned their property almost a year ago as the stinky mass of water has destroyed the house and mould has spread throughout.
Local ward councillor Tracy Lourenco says: “We’ve had absolutely no joy from the [Ekurhuleni] municipality.”
She says inaction and zero engagement led her to approach the Human Rights Commission which, she says, also had little luck.
Ekurhuleni spokesperson Zweli Dlamini told The Citizen the department of roads and stormwater was aware of the problem. He denies the council has not engaged with residents.
“The city has made funds available in the current financial year [2021-22] to appoint a consultant to look into possible solutions to resolve the problem … which should be finalised by approximately at the end of July.”