For twenty-one years, residents in the Mthwakazi area of Filabusi have become accustomed to burst sewers, now council says the problem is being addressed, however, residents will also chip in financially.
Residents in several townships in Filabusi, Matabeleland South, say for the past 21 years they have watched raw sewer flowing within their premises, a situation that now poses a health hazard.
To compound their woes, they now fear that their major source of water- Insiza River might be at great risk of being contaminated. Despite engaging their local authority, the Insiza Rural District Council over the matter, residents accuse the council of being reluctant to speedily address the problem.
Townships such as Mthwakazi; Bekezela, Garikai among others are still using an old sewer system that was put in place by the Rhodesian regime when the area was still under Mberengwa Rural District Council. According to residents, the sewer ponds, overwhelmed by the increasing population are now flooded, contributing to pipe bursts.
However, despite the accusations, council contends it is working flat out to find a lasting solution through the construction of a bigger septic tank; concerned residents are piling pressure on council for the construction to be done speedily.
Sithokozile Jamela, a resident at Mthwakazi Township is worried about a looming health crisis.
“This problem has been with us since 2000. It was solved on a temporary basis but resurfaced. The council has not been helping matters to rehabilitate its system to suit the current demand where the population is growing and the system is too old,” she says.
She fears contamination of their main water source.
“The situation is worse in that the sewerage is now flowing into Insiza River contaminating our major source of water and this means there is a possibility of the outbreak of diseases such as cholera and diarrhea any time if the Insiza RDC does not speed up the septic tank construction and complete it soon.”
Sibongile Khumalo, amother resident, says the sewer flows for about 200 metres before seeping into the river.
“The spilling sewer has been affecting a lot of people at Mthwakazi for quite a long time. Again it is affecting lives downstream as it flows into the Insiza River,” Khumalo says.
“The council is slow to respond to the concerns and it has since requested residents to contribute US$5 per household to hire people who will load the truck with stones meant to speed up the construction of the septic tank,” she adds.
According to Khumalo, about 45 households are expected to contribute towards the construction but as of 1 June close to 20 households had contributed raising only US$100.
In a notice to residents, Insiza Residents Association Chairman Lameck Ndlovu said the money being contributed was meant to pay those who will load stones for the project.
However, Insiza RDC Acting Chief Executive Officer Pardon Moyo played down the residents’ concerns saying the issue was being addressed and the engineering department was already working on resolving the problem.
“I am surprised that someone would jump the channel to raise that issue when the council is already addressing it,” Moyo told The Citizen Bulletin.
“I was speaking to the council chairperson who said the engineer had noted that there is a need to gather more stones and the residents were required to load the truck to complete a septic tank that is meant to address the problem,” Moyo says.
Moyo added that some residents raising the matter could be having ulterior motives and insisted that the “problem is being attended to and will be addressed soon.”
Source: The Citizen Bulletin