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WATCH: Sewerage horror for Nkulumane granny

by Staff reporter
14 Feb 2021 at 09:44hrs | Views
GOGO Minah Sibanda (74), of 1552 Nkulumane suburb is living on a health time bomb as a sewerage manhole that is located right next to the door behind her house spills regularly and has not been attended to as long as she can remember.

Gogo Sibanda, now infirm has trouble walking and says she wishes the Bulawayo City Council would remove the sewer that had caused her trouble over the years at the home she was given by a former employer in 1984.

"I was a house helper in Paddonhurst and when my employers were leaving for South Africa, they bought me this house as they said they didn't want me to suffer seeking accommodation with the children. The sewage was not a problem then. When we chose this house, my mother then, said she was happy that the house had a 'sitting stool' (sewer manhole) that she could sit on and do her knitting, we didn't know what it was then," she chuckled.

However, the manhole has caused her a lot of trouble over the years and she has resorted to digging trenches on either side of her home to allow the sewage to flow out towards the gate as it flows straight into her house if it is not channelled away from the house.

Sunday News visited Gogo Sibanda who was at pains describing her challenge; the pungent and unmistakable smell of sewage was lingering in the air with human waste strewn all over the yard where the sewage flows.

"My house is all sewage, I do not even sleep because of the smell here, this sewage bursts all the time for the past years and it has not been fixed despite the several reports that I have made. On Tuesday I called them (BCC) again to inform them of the blockages and they came but nothing was done to address the problem. The last time they came to try and fix it was in September last year after it had blocked, if it blocks for a few days we cannot manage the raw spillage of the sewage when it bursts," she said angrily.

She went on, "I cook outside on a fire right next to the sewage, so it can be spilling while I am cooking. I have no option but to cook there, the other side where the water drainage pipe is located also bursts when the sewage starts overflowing so both sides of my house are affected," she said.

Gogo Sibanda said she has no capacity to get the sewer system blocking her home fixed and was pleading with city fathers to address the challenge before there is a cholera or typhoid outbreak. She said the overflowing sewage also affects other homes in the neighbourhood.

"When it bursts here, all my neighbours are affected as their systems also get blocked and start to spill. Indlu izadilika (the house will collapse) and now the floor in the house is always wet, if one sleeps on the floor, the blankets get wet because water now seeps out of the floor in the house. I am very scared of this," she said.

Gogo Sibanda says her grandchildren have on several times been taken ill after eating effluent from the spilling sewage.

"My grandchild is very young and does not know what this is so the other time he ate the dirt from the sewage and I had to take him to the clinic for treatment. The other time he was eating mangoes that had fallen inside the sewage and started coughing, again I took him to the clinic. So, I am scared they will fall sick because of the bacteria that they are exposed to as they play outside," she lamented.

Gogo Sibanda said when the sewer blocks, they cannot flush the toilet inside the house as it fills up with waste.

"Last week I started removing dirt and sand that had filled up in the drainage system. I just wore plastics on my hands and dipped my hands inside because as we washed, the water was not flowing so I have been doing it manually alone so that the water does not spill out. I have no option because it spills back into the house," she said.

The sewage from her home spills out of the gate and into the trenches around the neighbourhood. The entrances to the homes around hers, have been barricaded by sewage and people have to jump ponds of affluent every day to access their homes.

Gogo Sibanda says when there is water, she cleans up the sewage to reduce the smell around the house and this has caused her water bill to sky rocket despite the fact that she stays alone most of the time. Gogo Sibanda is appealing for help for fix the sewage permanently. The city has been dogged by a challenge of obsolete water and sewer reticulation systems coupled with the rapid growth of population over the decades, experts say.

Source - sundaynews