Sewage clogging up Bloem

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Brandwag Social Housing Units entrance clogged up with sewage and waste material. PHOTO: Bonolo Moloi

In recent months, several areas in the Mangaung Metro have been faced with various sewage leaks.

This includes areas in streets such as General Dan Pienaar Drive and Jan van Riebeeck Street, where there is a major leak beneath the road, 52 Brebner Road, on the corner of Kellner Street & Melville Drive in Westdene, and in most parts of Brandwag.

Mangaung Ward 20’s councillor from the Democratic Alliance, Werner Pretorius, said the sewerage blockages occur regularly at the Brandwag Social Housing Units (BSHU), as well as in the rest of Brandwag. “The recent spike in sewerage blockages would be due to the recent water cuts that lasted days. This would have placed great pressure on the system due to limited water available to flush the system.”

 

Brandwag Social Housing Unit entrance (H Block). PHOTO: Bonolo Moloi

Pretorius further stated that submissions have been made in the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) on behalf of residents of the ward for the upgrading of bulk infrastructure, including sewerage, to better manage densification.

An administrator has recently been appointed to attend to a turnaround strategy for the Free State Social Housing Company (Freshco) after Freshco was placed under administration in 2019 by the Free State High Court due to maladministration. “The administration at times are not able to attend to the issues due to a lack of funds. The lack of funds are presumably due to a lack of sufficient rental income from the units, with very few residents paying rent over to the administrator,” says Pretorius.

Bloemfontein Courant engaged with the residents in the housing units in Brandwag to hear how they have been affected recently.

“I stay in Block I3. A memorandum was handed over to the mayor’s office on 17 August and we are waiting to receive a response within 14 days. The water has been restored until we find a way forward. Regarding sewage, we are suffering as the front entrance is covered by sewage, to a point that the municipality doesn’t want to assist us. We as residents have contributed funds to get a private company to assist us with the problem,” said one resident.

“This is not the first time we have had a sewerage problem, especially in our flats. I live in Block H12 and my flat was flooded not too long ago because of this issue. When I reported it to the municipality, it was never attended to. My couch was destroyed and a few other household appliances. I had to attend to it myself with the help of other residents. Regarding the issue of water, there are water cuts every now and then. They often cut our electricity too, even though both of these are paid for by the tenants,” says a resident in the H block.

General Dan Pienaar Drive and Jan van Riebeeck Street. PHOTO: Bonolo Moloi

“This sewerage issue is a huge health issue because some of us have children living here. They inhale some of those harmful toxins, which are not good. And not only do we have that issue, but we also have a waste management issue, as the garbage is rarely ever picked up. As residents, we have even come together and pay a small fee to get private contractors to clear our garbage once in a while,” says another resident in the H block.

Bloemfontein Courant has reached out to the municipality for a comment on the sewerage issues, among others, but at the time of publication, no correspondence was received.

Bonolo Moloi
bonolo@mahareng.co.za