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WATCH: Merebank residents severely affected by sewage catastrophe

Residents in Merebank were forced to leave their homes due to raw sewage overflowing into their yards.

MEREBANK residents say their basic human rights are being violated by the municipality as they are forced to bear the stench of faeces, which poses a health hazard. The raw sewage has been overflowing out of drains, toilets and showers for almost three weeks now.

With a possible health catastrophe on their doorsteps, some affected residents have been left with no other choice but to leave their homes in an attempt to avoid the bacteria, incurring further costs of rent and liabilities while relocating. Besides sewage flowing into homes, it has also been overflowing at Alipore and Settlers primary schools.

Also read: Sewage problem a pending health disaster

Jackie Pillay from Moltan Plantain in Merewent left her home three weeks ago as she feared becoming sick as her immune system is already compromised due to kidney failure.

“Raw sewage and sanitary towels began flowing out of the drain into her home, causing flooding in the front of the yard.

“We called eThekwini Municipality every day for two weeks but were told they do not have a pressure hose to clean the property. After numerous calls, they eventually told us that they are aware of the complaint and will get back to us. To date, nothing has been done.

“I had to move out of my home as my son who is asthmatic struggled to breathe due to the stench. We were nauseous and could not eat or sleep as the mess was flowing under the door and into our house,” Pillay said.

PR councillor for Ward 75, Sthembiso Ngema, said he had been assisting several families with the same complaint and blamed the municipality’s poor planning, lack of proper allocation of funds and apathy towards the dignity of residents as a part of the problem.

Also read: Sewage stench ‘suffocates’ businesses in Jacobs

“Sewage has been gushing into many properties and even at two schools in the area. People have had to relocate, and schools will close due to the severity of the problem.

“This is a serious health hazard for residents. People cannot suffer and live in conditions such as these for weeks. Residents are sitting with scores of reference numbers. The stench is unbearable. Teams that have been sent out do not even have personal protective equipment, which proves that the municipality is treating this serious problem lightly,” Ngema said.

He added that it was shocking that the City was failing to deal with the problem.

“The municipality is dealing with the problem temporarily. The faeces erupt into homes and people’s yards like a volcano. Will the mayor, or the heads of the municipality, live under these conditions for this amount of time? How can the people of Merebank continue to live under these conditions which are detrimental to their health and their dignity? These residents are ratepayers and deserve to have proper services. We will continue to assist residents, escalate matters and follow up on repairs, but it is guaranteed that the problem will be temporarily sorted out and the same thing will happen again in a few days.

“A permanent solution is needed. Infrastructure is aged and collapsing. The City needs a plan urgently,” Ngema added.

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