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Faeces in the kitchen: South Africans call for better sewage systems

The country’s ailing sewage works are failing.

Raw excrement, condoms and sanitary products regularly spill into homes and parks, South Africans said ahead of Friday’s World Water Day – just some of about 4.5 billion people globally without safe sanitation, promised for all by 2030.

Residents are lobbying for urgent rehabilitation of sewage works by South Africa’s Department of Water and Sanitation, widely criticised for lack of investment, non-payment of contractors, poor revenue collection, water theft and leakage.

“We have had water flowing into our street and home for the last three years,” Heather Crosley, who lives in South Africa’s biggest city, Johannesburg, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“When it rains heavily, the manhole lids blows off; sewage rushes down the road and sometimes comes into our kitchen. We have found condoms, tampons and faeces in our kitchen on more than one occasion.”


A crisis far bigger than Eskom

Wanted: A Nersa for water

Under global development goals agreed in 2015, governments pledged to provide access to water and sanitation for all by 2030. But three in 10 people worldwide do not have a water source free from faecal and chemical contamination.

The spokesman for the water department, Sputnik Ratau, said setting up an independent regulator to improve management was “paramount”, although he did not have a specific timeline.

“The Ministry and Department are seized with the work of ensuring this comes to pass,” he said.

Access to water is a hot topic in South Africa – and a growing number of countries hit by climate change, burgeoning populations and poor governance – as drought last year triggered warnings that Cape Town’s taps could run dry.

In Johannesburg’s Soweto township, residents often see untreated waste water and excrement flow into tributaries that lead to the Vaal River, one of the country’s main water sources.

“In Snake Park, sewage is currently flowing into a community-built park so the children have nowhere safe to play,” said community activist Tiny Dlamini.

Untreated water can cause diarrhea and cholera, which can be fatal, particularly for children.

About 56% of South Africa’s waste water treatment works are in a poor or critical state, said Mariette Liefferink, head of the Federation for a Sustainable Environment, which campaigns against water pollution caused by mining.

“This is a perfect storm of mismanagement that currently impacts 14 million South Africans without access to decent sanitation,” said Christine Colvin, a water expert with the World Wide Fund for Nature South Africa. 

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It’s amazing how the incompetence permeates through our society in every sphere, whatever the government is responsible for is a complete disaster.
I see no silver lining on the cloudy climate.
Since 1975 when I arrived I have not been as pessimistic as I am now. My friends the same.

Why do the water department need an independent regulator? Just do your goddamn jobs.

it is what the anc with limited or rather no insight in the economy calls job creation for palls with only zero experience in that field

No Boomgloom with the new Ramaphosa administration.

The clean up process has begun, give it time, he has only been around for 1 year. This is the mess Mr. Zuma and co. created in the last 9 years.

It is almost election season, you can expect of lot sensitive news coming out.

I arrived in 1974, still positive and ready to help the country which helped me in 1974.

I was positive until the total failure, still evolving, of Eskom. Without power the best will in the world will not succeed in growing the economy.
And Cyril will be out before the end of May. Mark my words.

When you have an uneducated populace that vote in uneducated and corrupt politicans like the ANX then this is what you get

This is one time no sane South African goes out to vote on May 8th 2019, let them vote for themselves. Even our opposition parties have no effect. I will not leave my house on that day. That’s the only effective vote you can give South Africa… THE NO VOTE, VOTE.

I couldn’t disagree more. Your vote is effective with the only rational option being the DA. Use your vote to strengthen the opposition. Otherwise we really have no hope!

In Cape Town the DA is milking the ratepayers to keep the City afloat. They are not getting my vote. Sorry.

I am typing this by the light of a solar charged LED lantern. Because our power has been off for 6 hours. No, not load shedding. No, I don’t live in the sticks. I live an a DA-controlled city. Due to the DA’s gross negligence, a substation has failed. One that’s faile before. I’m sitting in darkness because of a DAeff Lite municipal governmment. This has happened multiple times since 2016, when the DAeff Lite took over Tshwane’s gubbamunt. They are worse than the ANC.

So then who do you guys plan on voting for? I’m intrigued.

I you dont go out to vote, you indirectly increase the proprtion of economic freedom fraud EFF in parliament

Appalling to read this! I need a solid G and T to digest this. My view-the real sewerage is in Luthuli House closely followed by Parliament and many SOEs!

If you live in the land of the blind and you’re the one eyed man but not allowed to be king because the blind are fools, then it’s best to pack your bags and let the blind lead the blind into the abyss.

The right to vote is the mechanism that brings equilibrium between the levels of sophistication of infrastructure and the population. The status of service delivery is a reflection of the mindset of the average voter. Therefore, the constitution basically guarantees a typhoid fever and cholera epidemic.

When the world forced us to hand over a beautiful functioning country they did not realize the caliber of the new management.
There are those that will shoot me down because we did not train them from way back, I agree we should have, but would they have listened? Like they listened the last 25 years.

Thank you African National Congress! You are literally forcing us to eat and drink sh!t! Dont worry though – I will still vote for you anyway come May 2019!

Better sewage systems, forget about it. The only things getting ‘better’ in South Africa are crime and corruption. When the kitchen is flooded with sewage the people can take comfort in the fact the sewage system is transformed and decolonised.

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