South Africa: Mystery Stream Has Flooded PE Township for 20 Years

For 20 years residents of Govan Mbeki Township in Port Elizabeth have been battling a mystery stream of water which oozes under their yards and houses.

Residents of Phehlegard street and Mbeki Road say their streets have turned into rivers. Motorists have to avoid a huge pothole caused by this continuous overflowing of water from underground in Mbeki Road.

Nombeko Fulani of Phehlegard street said the problem had started in 1999.

"Our yards and houses are always wet. I am always cutting the grass and digging trenches to make a way for this water to get out of my yard. These wet conditions also attract mosquitoes and frogs," she said.

Fulani said municipal workers could not explain where the water comes from.

"All these years the municipal workers have been coming with their big machines to detect where this water come from. Our water pipes are not leaking and sewerage works fine. They have not found the cause of this problem."

She said an outside toilet in one of the houses had been demolished twice when workers thought the water was coming from there. "But that did not stop the water from seeping," she said.

"When I was still living in a shack, my furniture and clothes would be soaked in water. Now this water is flooding my garden and it does not dry up," said Fulani.

"My yard is always wet," said neighbour Mxolisi Matiso. "In front of my house here in Mbeki Road there is a big pothole caused by this water. Vehicles are getting damaged and this is a busy main road."

"We report this daily and municipal workers do come but they fail to fix the problem."

Taxi driver Xolani Seti said the pothole damaged vehicles.

GroundUp has tried to get comment from Nelson Mandela Bay Municipal spokesperson Mthubanzi Mniki and ward councillor Nomazwi Sonti since last Wednesday. When first contacted, Mniki said he could not comment until he had information from sewerage team. A week later he has not responded to three emails, four whatsapp messages and six phones calls. Councillor Sonti's phone goes to voicemail.

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