Hazardous state in Marapong

Litter and hazardous waste is an ongoing problem in some areas of Marapong

Ratlou Mabula
MARAPONG — Marapong has been experiencing an influx of people seeking employment and in the process, some of them end up living in appalling conditions.
One such example is seen at an informal settlement of Baprika. The area falls under Ward 2, led by Cllr Lesibana Fred Monare and is just a stone’s throw from Manamela Park, also known as Extention 3 and within the same ward.
Recently an affected resident, Solomon Phalane, who stays in the area near a well-known tavern, submitted his concerns and asked for help as he lives in a dire and unhygienic state, surrounded by neighbours who suffer the same injustice.
During personal investigations at a time of continuous rain, I was told of and observed several disturbing health hazards which included:
• Worms in the mud, even by the doorstep of Phalane’s shack.
• Some residents throw urine stored in buckets, bathing water, human waste, plastic bags containing sanitary towels & papers among other things on the ground. These then flow with the water to the shacks when it rains.
• There is a municipal board which says “R1 000 fine for illegal dumping” but it is surrounded by dirt in plastic bags.
• Phalane’s shack seems to be the most affected and he says he has had to move his seven month old daughter from the place as she was constantly sick due to the environment.
He even provided a doctor’s appointment card showing the latest date his daughter received medical attention due to this.
• Some residents say they cannot cook or eat in their own shacks.
In addition, some residents say they have repeatedly asked for the ward councillor’s intervention but their request have not been heard.
When drawn for comment Monare said he and the Ward Committee are aware of the problem at the residence in question.
He even showed a report the committee recorded, which addressed poor water supply and waste management as major concerns.
Furthermore, he said there are constant community meetings that some residents do not attend and he cannot address residents individually.
In the section from which the complaints come there is one flushing toilet almost 100 metres from the illegal dumping spot. Monare says the problem of people avoiding the public toilet could have started when it had a blockage which has since been fixed.
Meanwhile in Marapong Extension 4, two households lodged complaints about their RDP houses which are affected by a blocked pipe near the entrance towards Ditheku Primary School.
The pipe has apparently affected house number 2648 and 2650, where sewerage water was seen on the ground near outside toilets.
Ward 1 Cllr William Motlokoa said he was notified about the problem and he instructed municipal officials to attend to the matter urgently.
“The initial problem was that the area was too wet and the machine used to unblock pipes would not properly operate on the ground. The challenge we face is of people who install their own toilets and try to connect pipes with the manhole of the municipality. When there is a blockage problem, our officials will go to look for problems at the manhole and not individual pipes at households”; said Motlokoa.
He also commented on the Baprika issue, saying that in terms of township establishment, informal settlements were not well formulated.
He said: “There should have been a plan for grey water, so that the drainage system would direct dirty water to the sewerage plant. Without this there is no plan for sanitation and the long-term solution is to take Baprika residents to Altoostyd, where there will be mobile toilets and temporary drainage for grey water”.
On Wednesday, 15 March 2017, municipal officials attended to the problem and fixed it.
Before going to print Lephalale Municipality had not yet responded to questions e-mailed to them on 10 March 2017.

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