BY PATRICIA SIBANDA
RESIDENTS of Bulawayo’s oldest and most populous suburb, Makokoba, are up in arms with the city council for failing to attend to burst sewer pipes which are now discharging raw sewage into their houses, thereby posing a serious health hazard.
Makokoba COVID-19 taskforce director Dingaan Ndlovu said they had been working hand in glove with other environmental partners on keeping the suburb clean, but the issue of burst sewer pipes had pegged them back.
“We have proactively innovated as a community and created a team of environmental monitors that have been trained by Environmental Management Agency and Forestry Commission and other organisations to give awareness on environmental issues,” he said.
“While we are also a community watchdog on positive COVID-19 behaviour and compliance, we are also concerned with issues of water and sanitation.”
Ndlovu said council had failed them in terms of addressing the continuous sewer pipe bursts.
“We appreciate the amount of effort that is being put by Bulawayo City Council (BCC) to keep our environment habitable, but we realise that they are overwhelmed and seem to be losing the battle with raw sewerage. Raw sewerage is a now all over and it has become like a new normal. People are living with it and this is very pathetic and dangerous at the same time,” he said.
“Sewerage is now flowing into residential houses and families are exposed to this health hazard. We urge BCC to timeously respond to the crisis through the partners that they have engaged to help them,” Ndlovu said.
Contacted for comment, Makokoba ward 7 councillor Shadreck Sibanda said the problem was being caused by an overload since the suburb’s population had far exceeded its designed carrying capacity.
He also said the pipes were too old, hence the entire system needs to be revamped.
“Makokoba population has outgrown the sewer system. The sewer system was constructed 60 years back and I am pretty sure you can imagine how dilapidated it has become and the council tries by all means necessary to attend to the burst sewer pipes, but you will find out that they burst day after day. There is too much pressure from the large and growing population,” Sibanda said.