Relocation is the only solution, says councillor

Flowing sewage and illegal dumping are common sites in Joe Slovo.

Joe Slovo residents say that efforts to clean out the drains in the neighbourhood don’t seem to be doing any good.

At the weekend, the City of Cape Town appointed a company to clean out the sewerage drains in the area.

According to Ward 4 councillor, Wandisile Ngeyi, the truck is appointed to come every three months or so. The truck’s job is to suck out all the gunk stuck inside the drains that make it difficult for the pipes to flow properly.

Residents in the area said they noticed the truck in Freedom Way and had hopes that those efforts would help free up the blocked drains. However, residents say it did not work because as soon as those operations were done, they noticed that sewage was still overflowing in some parts.

Themba Jikela said: “This truck just came to make a mess because it seemed like it was just trying to forcefully push whatever was stuck in the drains. As a result, we saw other parts of Democracy Way starting to have problems with overflowing sewage.”

Drains overflowing with sewage in Democracy Way.

Phoenix resident Sibongile Kofi said that chunks of human excrement were flowing in the roads this past Saturday after the truck was done.

“My biggest issue here is that I find that the City isn’t cleaning here for our well-being. They are just trying to fix the problem so that it doesn’t affect the people at Lagoon Beach. The City is getting pressure from those suburbs to fix this issue because it’s affecting the rich areas. Every time this truck comes and cleans nothing changes,” he said.

The City of Cape Town appointed a private company to clean the sewage drains in Joe Slovo at the weekend.

Mr Ngeyi said there were many issues that plagued Joe Slovo but said the only thing that would solve the larger issues was to relocate people.

“The overcrowding issue is what is causing this problem. Over the years, lots of people have moved to the area. People keep building more structures to existing plots and the infrastructure is taking strain. The only solution is to move people to other locations. Getting services to the area isn’t a problem but there are too many people dependent on those services,” he said.

One of many issues in Joe Slovo is illegal dumping.

Mr Ngeyi said the City’s housing project manager, Duke Gumede, was still looking for more land where some Joe Slovo people could be moved on a permanent basis.

In 2018, a project was launched by the councillor to fix sewer pipes on Joe Slovo. Mr Ngeyi said that those pipes still can’t handle the amount of people using the infrastructure.

“It is going to be a long process to sort out everything we need to do. That is why I think a joint effort by the City, province and national government is needed,” he said.

He added that once the issues of Joe Slovo can be fixed, this would help the surrounding communities as well.