Residents fear for their health after leaking sewer pipes have been unfixed for years

MOTETEMA – Residents of Motetema Township outside Groblersdal claim they have been inhaling heavy stench from a leaking sewer from burst pipes for the past five years.

The residents allege they have been complaining about the problem to the Elias Motsoaledi Local Municipality ward 31 councillor, Rhodes Msiza and the Sekhukhune District Municipality without any success.

Boysen Mahlangu, a community leader, said the incessant flow of human excrement and other inexplicable matter posed safety and health hazards for residents.

Mahlangu said they were worried about the health of children because they sometimes played inside the flowing human waste from burst pipes that remained unfixed for the past five years.

The community leader worried that they lost count on how many times the matter was reported to Sekhukhune District Municipality without any action.

Mahlangu said the Executive Mayor, Stan Ramaila was engaged on the problem in March last year and promised to come back to them within three weeks.

“Nothing has happened since then. We then decided to engage Premier Stan Mathabatha but were also given a cold shoulder. We don’t know who to turn to anymore,” said Mahlangu.

According to residents the district municipality appointed a contractor in 2014 to permanently eradicate the problem but the said contractor made the matter worse.

“The contractor was supposed to fix the pipes with an excess of R3.5 Million paid by the district municipality for a period of four months. Instead, the contractor channeled pipes to nearby open spaces and not the main sewer system. Some of the leaking pipes were left unfixed causing human waste to flow on the streets,” explained Mahlangu.

He indicated that the flowing sewer flooded the streets forcing people to jump over several sewer streams and puddles before entering their yards.

“Trenches have been dug next to houses in order for the sewerage to flow out of yards. However, the dismal sight of used toilet papers scattered all over the ground still remains. We cannot sleep peacefully at night as the stench fills up houses,” said Mahlangu.

He threatened that residents would take to streets if the Sekhukhune district municipality failed to deal with the matter permanently.

“This is an ongoing battle that we have been struggling with for the past five years. We are not able to enjoy life because of the stench and unhygienic conditions we are forced to live under. It is so disgusting and we are tired,” complained Mahlangu.

Willy Mosoma, SDM Spokesperson, said the district municipality was aware of the problem.

“The problem, is that some of the people have built their houses on top of the sewer main pipe which makes it difficult for the municipality to fix the leaking pipes,” said Mosoma

Thapelo Motseo

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