Shoddy infrastructure irks residents

Deteriorating infrastructure near the taxi rank.

Dunoon residents are still fighting poor roads and sewage in their streets, and they fear the problems are only going to get worse during winter.

Siphesihle Nkomo, who has lived in the neighbourhood for 15 years, says he has heard many promises from those in power, but the area is still in bad shape.

“Every day here is the same story. There seems to be another problem right around the corner. Just walking outside your house, you already see dirty water flowing in the stormwater drains and piles of rubbish lying on the side of the roads. And although the City might say that some of those issues are caused by the residents, explain how the potholes and poorly maintained drains are our fault,” Mr Nkomo said.

Colleen Samson, 25, said a pipe burst at a neighbour’s house had taken two months to fix. 

“Everyone around here contacted the City but nothing was being done about it. There was water everywhere, and, eventually, the drain nearby was also blocked. A few of my neighbours took it upon themselves to clear up all the rubbish that was causing the blockage.

Bear in mind, this is being done without the necessary equipment and it’s a health risk.”

Ms Samsom said one wrong step in the potholed roads could lead to a sprained ankle, and vehicles were also damaged.

“What hurts more is when I get into debates with people from ‘suburbs’, and they say, ‘But the people of Dunoon should take responsibility for their environment.’ How does one even argue with someone who knows nothing about the experiences of lack of services from the municipality? How is it that we, people from townships, get blamed for infrastructure deteriorating?

The situation is honestly beyond the control of the people of Dunoon. Many of us try to keep our areas clean, but there’s only so much we can do.”

Residents claim the City only does temporary fixes on drains and roads, so it is not long before they are broken again (“Pipe bursts dog Dunoon,” Tabletalk, March 14, 2018).

Joseph Mbanda, who has a food stall selling meat in Siyabonga Street, said: “It’s winter now, so things are only going to get worse from here. What do we need to do as people of Dunoon to get better services?”

Ward 104 councillor Lubabalo Makeleni said he shared his constituents’ frustrations, especially when dealing with certain City officials.

“I have raised this many times, and I will continue to do so because I represent the needs of the people of Dunoon. Quite often, you find that these departments that fix the roads will start something and leave the half-finished job for months – the problem gets worse.

My job is to represent the people and I do that to the best of my ability, and I would like the officials in charge of certain departments to do that same,” he said.

“I feel like I’m fighting a losing battle when it comes to getting certain departments on board, but I will not give up.”

He challenged City officials to give timelines for when the drains and roads would be fixed.

The City’s mayoral committee member for transport, Felicity Purchase, said the City was aware that certain areas across Cape Town were prone to flooding especially during the rainy season.

She said that the City’s road-repair teams were out and about doing visual inspections, clearing blocked drains, fixing potholes, and undertaking general maintenance across the city, including Dunoon.

“It must be noted that although the presence of water is the primary cause of potholes, their formation differs somewhat depending on the existing road’s pavement composition. The repeated pump action between the road surface and the tyres of the vehicles cause the road to crack. Water gets through the cracks and weakens the pavement layer, which, in turn, leads to more cracking and eventually a pothole forms,” she said.

Ms Purchase urged communities to refrain from dumping objects in stormwater drains and to report anyone doing so.

“Residents can also do their part by clearing their driveways, pavements and gutters,” she said.