Heidedal drowning in sewage

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Tommy Martin from Heidedal looks on in dismay as raw sewage streams down the streets of Heidedal. Photos: Pieter Delport

While the rest of the City of Roses is preparing for a stress free weekend of well-deserved rest, the residents of Ashbury, a suburb of Heidedal, are literally drowning in raw sewage.

When Courant visited Ashbury this morning raw sewage was streaming down streets such as Mozart and Bach. Angry residents were standing around in groups with their hands covering their faces as a temporary relief from the stench.

“Our good health and that of our children is being threatened by this situation, but the municipality doesn’t give a damn. They sent out a private contractor this morning to assess the situation, but he didn’t say a word to us and we haven’t heard from him since.

“What worries me most is the fact that even if they manage to stop the flow of sewage, the water and the stench will stay with us for another week. In the meantime our children are getting sick and are losing important school days,” said Basil Scheepers, a resident of Mozart Street.

Jeanine Martin, whose yard is overflown with raw sewage, says they are confined to their living room since the sewage problem broke out yesterday.

“We can’t even go to the outside toilet or get water from the outside tap. We are at the mercy of our neighbours to supply us with water. There is raw sewage at my back door as well as my front door. It is such an unhealthy situation.

“And our health is not the only thing we are worried about. What about damage to our houses? The tiles in my neighbour’s bathroom lifted because of the sewage problem. Who will pay for the damage to our houses?” asked Martin.

The DA councillor for Ward 47, John de Bruin, who coincidently also lives in the affected area, says that although this is an unacceptable situation brought on by a lack of planning by the municipality, residents must bear in mind that the city is currently faced with a crippling strike by the South Africa Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU).

“People must just exercise patience. Our colleagues from the ANC in Heidedal, Kelvin Beck and his team, have arranged for a private contractor to have look into the Heidedal sewage problem.  But because one of the contractor’s vans had been damaged during strike action in the CBD this morning, he is scared to go to Heidedal.

“However, as we speak, I am at the Heidedal police station to arrange that the contractor be escorted into Heidedal. Not that I think he needs to be escorted, but just to ease his mind,” said De Bruin.

Pieter Delport / Courant News