Dunoon residents say they are getting sick from sewage spilling from the township’s blocked and broken pipes and flooding their streets and homes.
Zoliswa Mose says her toilet overflows each time she flushes, leaving her to clean up the mess.
She says she has called the municipality many times about this, but they tell her it’s not their problem and she must hire a plumber.
“I don’t know where they think I’m going to get the money to keep fixing the same issue all the time. Right now, we don’t use the toilet because of the flooding issue, so we have to ask neighbours to use their toilets.
“I would like the municipality to help us in getting us a good piping system that works because clearly there is something wrong here,” she said.
The flooding from the toilet had damaged her floors and her family were breaking out in pimples and sores she believed were caused by their living conditions.
Funeka Qashani, 47, lives five streets away in Silverleaf Road, and there are frequent pipe bursts in her street.
“Just last Tuesday, the municipality came to clean and fix the burst drain. Two days later, we were facing the same problem.
“My toilet overflows. There is a drain in my yard that always overflowing with sewage water. We have had to cover it, but it makes no difference,” she said.
“The municipality likes to say that these issues are caused by overpopulation, but ever since I moved here in the early 90s there has been a problem with these drains,” said Ms Qashani.
She now lives alone, having sent her three children to the Eastern Cape because she doesn’t want them to get sick.
However, area north Mayco member Suzette Little said homeowners were responsible for the plumbing on their properties.
The main cause of repeated pipe blockages and overflows in Dunoon, she said, was residents putting “inappropriate materials” into the sewer system, including hub-caps, rubble, bricks, sand, sheep and goat skulls, rags, cooking fats and oil, and general litter.
Ms Little said it was an offence under the Wastewater and Industrial Effluent By-law to put something in a municipal sewer that could block it.
Ms Little said the City had taken several steps tackle Dunoon’s sewer problems, including using bucket machines as well as sand and rag traps – cleaned twice a week – to screen detritus from the pipes. The pipes were also cleaned regularly, she said, and awareness drives told people what not to put in them.
“The City’s efforts to maintain the sewer system in the area are hampered by unauthorised development and densification, as well as the sheer volume of inappropriate disposals into the sewer system,” said Ms Little.
“Many residents build over the City’s manholes which means that when a pipe does block it is much more challenging to access a blockage and clear it.”