News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Sunday May 20th 2018

Gugulethu informal settlement flooded with filthy water

Siyabonga Kalipa

Because of the heavy winter rains there are puddles of dirty water in almost every informal settlement in Cape Town. When the sun comes out they drain away. But the residents of Lotus River informal settlement in Gugulethu have had water lying outside their doorsteps for about two years – in summer and winter – and they don’t know where it comes from. The water is filled with rubbish and excrement and makes their children sick.

Resident and mother of two children Nompembelelo Mdudu, who has been living there since Lotus River was first erected in 2003, said people who lived outside the squatter camp threw their rubbish in the pools of green stinking water which sat in front of the squatter camp shacks, and even emptied their toilet buckets there.

“Our children are the ones who are in danger because children play, especially with water, and this can get them infected,” said Mdudu.

She said it smelled terrible now but was even worse in the summer heat.

“The smell stays in our houses and brings us flies and mosquitoes.”

She said the least the city could do was provide a skip so the rubbish could be thrown into it and carted away.

Zine Mpetsheni, who moved to the area at the beginning of the year, said: “Some people even throw shit next to our houses which makes the smell even worse. We are appealing to the municipality to at least provide us with a container, or anything people will throw their rubbish into. The way we live here is not healthy at all.”

And people who stay outside the squatter camp get angry when Lotus River residents confront them about throwing rubbish in front of their houses.

“When we try to approach the people who throw their rubbish next to our house they become violent, saying we built houses there knowing how the place looks.,” said Lotus River resident Nosive Dingezweni.

The ward 42 councillor Mandisa Matshoba said she was aware of the situation.

Matshoba said as a result of her efforts “a development” would start in the next two weeks.

But she would not say what the “development” was.

“Even though things do not happen over night I am hoping not later than next year things will see some improvement,” she said.

City of Cape Town informal settlements manager Mzwandile Sokupa said there had been water in that area for years, but it was less in summer.

“People don´t understand that the water table level rises significantly in winter. They just build houses in summer when it’s dry,” said Sokupa.

When asked about the waste in the area Sokupa said: “I can’t comment on the waste, the City of Cape Town Solid Waste Management can help you.”

The City of Cape Town Solid Waste Management could not be reached for comment. – West Cape News

Tags: lotusriver

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