PROMISES of service delivery dominated mayor Ben Fihla’s last speech to council, but it seems to be just a figment of our imagination. Did it really happen, especially in Uitenhage?
Uitenhage forms part of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality, but the town seems to be pushed more and more onto the back burner where the allocation of budget and service delivery is concerned. I refer, in the main, to the struggling sewerage system and the canal.
The canal, which snakes its noisome way through much of the town, runs alongside hundreds of homes.
Uitenhage’s problems are manifold and it must be said that where sanitation and the environment are concerned, much needs to be done. The infrastructure of the sewerage system is very old, and by and large not maintained and in need of sewerage pipes of a far larger diameter than those in place.
The population of this town has grown, with the subsequent enormous additional pressure on this vital service.
The seriousness of the condition of the (originally intended) “floodwater canal” comes into play, where sewage and waste is concerned.
When sewerage manholes pop out of the ground from too much pressure, their contents go the route of least resistance, into the canal!
The bucket system prevails in many of the informal settlements and it is known that when the collection system fails, or is not regular, the unfortunate residents dump the contents of their buckets into the canal.
Only two refuse transfer stations (dumps) exist, so again. the canal is conveniently used to dump rubbish. The canal is not maintained, and filthy – full of litter of all descriptions.
What was meant as a floodwater channel is now a health hazard of some magnitude, as it oozes its way down into the Swartkops River, causing more mayhem as it arrives.
I have raised this poor state of the canal and unhealthy conditions at the standing committee on infrastructure and engineering as well as at public health, but it seems that there is no will from senior officials to have a maintenance plan put in place and to keep the canal clean.
This is a cry for help from Uitenhage, for a budget to be made available urgently, to clean up this town, make it a place where people get their self- respect back and to avoid the danger of a serious health hazard such as cholera raising its head.
The warning signs are there.
Kenneth Kohl, DA councillor for Ward 48, Uitenhage