Basic Human Rights taken for Granted
For residents in the Homevale suburb, the sight of bits of used toilet paper and faeces floating in coats of algae in streams of effluent waste water is all too common. The community says they have been forced to live in inhumane conditions for the past three years. Conditions they claim have robbed them of their basic human right to adequate sanitation services. Residents say they have queried their concerns with the Sol Plaatje Municipality but their pleas have fallen on deaf ears.
Adam Suliman has been living in Homevale for more than 30 years. The elderly man implored that the rights of those living in Homevale, Homevale Extension, Homelite and Homevalley have been taken for granted. Suliman says the efforts made by the Sol Plaatje Municipality to address the issue, has made no significant impact. “They just come and unblock it and that is not a solution. Say for instance there’s sewage running through Sardine Street on a Friday they come and unblock it but when you walk pass on a Sunday it’s running again and this is not a solution. They must upgrade the sewage system because the sewage spills into the yards and the houses and even into the streets and it is a health risk. The children keep getting sick and it even affects my health also.”
The entire third ward is plagued by rivulets of raw sewage that flow freely into the streets of Homevale, Homevale Extension, Homelite and Homevalley. Ward 3 Councillor Clifford Lewis says he approached the Sol Plaatje Municipality with the community’s grievances but only short term solutions have been put into effect. “These pipes are still running now as we speak nothing is different here. I mean if you see Plan A is not working why don’t you just move to Plan B. Why don’t they sit together and come up with a solution that can help the community? It’s really an unhealthy environment to live in you see how the people get sick, the children are sick from this drain that has been running for years,” said a disappointed Lewis.
Some of the residents directly approached the Solomon Star to express their concerns over the rivulets of raw sewage. Hazel Topuz says for the past three years the stench of raw sewage has made her life unbearable. Topuz believes the reason behind her granddaughter’s declined health can be linked to the free flowing effluent water and pollution in the area. “Since this sewage water has been leaking in the street my granddaughter has been in and out of the hospital. She spent four days in the ICU and the doctors say it must have been something she inhaled that has affected her lungs. The municipality must come and fix it I mean when we cook it’s a smell when you clean your house is just smelling like s**.”
Her neighbour Betty Baatjies shares similar sentiments. “This rubbish and this sewage water has a very negative impact on my elderly mother’s health. She was in hospital the whole month of January because of her lung condition and she lives on oxygen. I mean we can’t keep sitting in our houses with closed doors we have to open it, but when we do it smells like someone just went to the toilet and relieved themselves. And I have a young child who has been experiencing health problems in her chest and my husband is asthmatic now all of these smells just makes their conditions worse.”
The community has demanded the Sol Plaatje Municipality immediately rectify the matter. After numerous attempts to contact the Sol Plaatje Municipality, it could not be reached for comment.
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