Raw sewerage is spilling out of overflowing pit latrines in an informal settlement in Inanda Newtown, north of Durban. Communities fear there could be a spread of diseases in the area.
The Ethekwini Municipality has failed to empty their “Ventilated Improved Pit toilets.”
Raw sewage is overflowing and spilling into their homes. More than 15 000 toilets are full and unusable.
68-year-old Albertina Mbatha lives with 19 family members including children. Their toilet is full and the smell of raw sewage is unbearable.
“These toilets have not been cleaned for the last six months. At one stage, a certain company came and promised to help us, but later they disappeared.”
The community members say they fear the sewage in their yards could cause an outbreak of diseases.
“One day, we found a foetus in the toilet. You know if this filth is not being attended to, there will be an outbreak of incurable diseases. We are scared that we might get infection from this.”
The Ethekwini Municipality says it’s aware of the problem, but blamed structural problems for the delays.
Ethekwini Municipality Head of Water and Sanitation, Ednick Msweli, says that the contractor working on the programme says that some toilets are too deep.
“The contractor that is working on this programme tells us that he came across toilets that are as deep as three meters – that poses a challenge to us in terms of the contract that we put out three years ago, which we have been using for this programme. Because the rates that were pickable were based on the scenario of a toilet being a meter deep. So, in instance like that, people will know that we will have to do variation order, because it’s something you could not predict.”
The municipality says it’s treating this as a matter of urgency.
Msweli says a team has been assigned to empty the toilets as soon as possible.
“What is happening is something that was unforeseen. We appeal to the community especially the affected community of Nhlungwane to give us a space as we rectify the problem and error.”
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