South Africa: Overflowing Sewage and No Refuse Collection in Makhanda

Makana Municipality has suspended refuse collection since Tuesday due to protests

"I think they have run out of ideas of how to fix the sewage overflows here in Makhanda. This is not the only one ... You can go around the locations and you jump over sewage overflowing from manholes," says resident Mzikayise Ndyondya.

His home of the past 19 years in Extension 6 is one of those affected. A manhole on a gravel road nearby often overflows. Municipal workers would come to fix it but "it will take less than a day for it to overflow again", says Ndyondya.

Then, over a week ago municipal workers came and dug a trench at the manhole, directing the sewage towards the houses.

Mabhuti Nqowana, a passing driver who turned his car around when he saw the trench, said, "This is absolutely ridiculous. How can you dig a trench like this, and still direct it to homes? ... Vehicles are going to break down here."

Nokwakha Agnes Nondzube, 76, said, "We have to close our doors all the time ... It is difficult to eat; the smell is very bad."

Last year, Makana Municipality assistant media and communications officer Anele Mjekula said the municipality was struggling to keep up with fixing blockages and overflows.

Making matter worse for residents, since Tuesday the municipality suspended refuse collection in the township due to violent protests [in eNkanini, Hoogenoeg, Extension 9 and 10, and Joza].

"Municipal vehicles were destroyed and set on fire during these protests. Residents are therefore advised to keep their refuse bags inside their yards until further notice," said Mjekula.

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