C Section Informal Settlement residents at Duncan Village in East London protest that uncollected mounds of stinking rubbish near their shack homes cause them an endless headache and a constant scare of covid-19 coronavirus infection.
A group of anxious residents who approached Elitsha claimed that the rubbish piles have resulted in swarms of flies filling their homes and rats that terrorise their groceries while an unbearable stench fills the air, especially on sunny days.
They complained that they can no longer live in the current manner because it poses huge life risks to their children and the general community, especially after the covid-19 coronavirus outbreak.
They blamed the problem on what they described as severe neglect from the Buffalo City Metro (BCM) municipality and appealed for the health department’s intervention to ensure that their everyday life, health and protection from covid-19 improves.
Residents claimed that they feared that the ongoing presence of the filth might cause them to be vulnerable to the deadly virus because it has piled up near a communal tap.
“It is an annoying issue, [and is] definitely an undesirable manner for people to live because some people throw various kinds of things here that included faeces in bucket containers, disposable nappies, rotten food, dead dogs, and all the general household rubbish. It overwhelms us; [it is] unacceptable because of the stench. We find it unfair that we should continue to endure this existence even after the frequent better life promise made by politicians during government elections,” said Nokhaya Myaleni, 65-year-old mother of seven who lives in her one-roomed shack with her seven-year-old grandchild from her twelve grandchildren.
“I feel pity and simultaneously get immensely troubled for my seven-year-old granddaughter’s life every time she steps outside. This is the only place they regularly choose for their playtime as children. And as an adult it is not always possible to keep the young ones in check.
“We have repeatedly raised this as a serious matter as it is nearby a communal tap with the municipal authorities, but as you can see, there is still nothing being done,” complained Myaleni.
She complained that she aimed to get her shack reinforced with cement as the polluted water sporadically infiltrates through the bottom.
According to the local community, the Ward 7 councillor was well informed about the matter a long time ago, so why the issue was still not been attended to puzzles them.
Mlondolozi Sigwanda (38), who has operated a barbershop in the area for nine years grumbled that the issue has affected his business badly and caused him to lose some of his customers due the stench emanating from the mess.
“What shocks us is that it is always visible for all the municipality’s personnel and officials who drive past this junction often in their vehicles … Our ward councillor is also aware of it, and that it has existed since the past few years and we get to wonder why it still gets ignored, as if it never occurred,” said Sigwanda.
He claimed that the problem had also resulted in a local salon owner who previously operated nearby closing her business.
Margaret Phantshwa, an 86-year-old mother of six, condemned the municipality and attributed the problem to the BCM’s failure.
“I believe our councillor also cannot do much about it because it is the municipality’s responsibility. The councillor herself also got affected by the same situation because she lives here with us as well.
Phantshwa also blamed the filth for the unmanageable rat infestation in their area and the possible occurrence of more unknown sicknesses arising from contaminated stagnant water that can cost the lives of little ones.
Councillor Clara Yekiso Morolong criticised residents for being reckless by creating the illegal dumpsite instead of using a metal skip provided by the BCM several meters away from the piling filth.
However, after being pressed further by Elitsha she acknowledged the failure.
“I can understand it. The problem we have is that our municipality presently experiences a problem with the shortage of refuse bags.
“We previously delivered 600 refuse bags for local residents to keep the area neat and we recently had only 50 bags which we provided for the street cleaners.
“I am going to beg the municipality to come and clean up the rubbish,” she promised.
Samkelo Ngwenya, a spokesperson for the Buffalo City Metro was not available for comment when Elitsha attempted to contact him.