WATCH: Senzo Mchunu experiences Khayelitsha ‘stink den’ and hears residents’ grievances
Share this article:
Cape Town - Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu on Wednesday visited Khayelitsha, to follow up on complaints about the ongoing sewerage overflows and blockages in the area.
This, after Site B residents took to the streets on Tuesday and barricaded roads, demanding that the City put plans into action to fix their drains.
A pungent smell lingered in the air, with dirty water flowing across Vukani Street, to people's homes, as Mchunu visited one of the residents Luyanda Makaba, who showed him her flooded house in Site C.
Makaba said she has been reporting the matter to the City.
“The situation is so bad. We can't even eat inside the house, the water runs through the house. If you are in the bathroom, you can smell it, if you are in the kitchen, you can smell it,” said Makaba.
Mchunu said those unhealthy living conditions needed to be fixed as a matter of urgency. He said the national government needed answers from local authorities, on how they planned to resolve residents’ grievances.
He said he was told by the resident that the problem started in 2018, and it got worse in 2020, during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Responding to claims that his visit was politically motivated, Mchunu said he got appointed on August 5, and has been going around all over the country, and this was his first time visiting Khayelitsha.
“It has nothing to do with elections, it has everything to do with the sewerage that is running on the streets and in people's homes,” he said.
He said they needed a comprehensive plan for Khayelitsha and, possibly, surrounding areas, because they could not subject those people to forever live conditions like that.
City manager for water and sanitation Pierre Maritz, who also conducted a walkabout with Mchunu, said after Tuesday's agreement with the community, they have actually put down a deadline and submitted a plan, and would continue with services in the area until they are resolved.
Khayelitsha Development Forum (KDF) chairperson Ndithini Tyhido said Khayelitsha is a “stink den”. He said they were encouraged by Mchunu's visit, where he walked through the streets, in the flowing faeces and dirty water.
Tyhido said all they wanted was the resolution of the problem.
“The most painful thing for a resident is to report and get a reference, and then there is no relation between the reference and the turnaround time for the problem to be fixed,” said Tyhido.
Mayoral committee member for water and waste Xanthea Limberg said over the next two financial years, the department was planning to upgrade various sections of sewage infrastructure in Site B and Site C, Khayelitsha, aimed at providing additional capacity within the network, but that would not solve the overflow problem unless residents use the new infrastructure for its appropriate use.