By Nabeelah Mohedeen
The City seems unable to permanently fix plumbing problems plaguing Coral Court, a block of council flats in Gatesville, say the residents there.
They have to put up with blocked toilets and drains every two months, they say (“Stench and water woes plague council block,” Athlone News, February 24) and things only got worse when the street lights near the block stopped working.
When the drains blocked on Monday October 25, it took municipal staff until Monday November 1 to sort the problem out, say residents.
“When we flush, it goes down so slowly,” said Leela Pramjee. “Residents are fed up. What is the point in coming out if they don’t fix what is wrong? They didn’t even do any suction. This is probably the fourth time for the year.”
A long-term solution was needed, she said, adding that the faulty street lights added to residents’ stress because the neighbourhood was in complete darkness and the block had no security gates.
Mariam Kajie said her toilet wouldn’t flush at all when the pipes got blocked.
“They tell us to save water, but how can we if we have to flush our toilets so many times? I am the one always calling them to come out. I am so fed up of this.”
Elaine Percival said her toilet had been leaking for three months, but her complaints to the City had failed to get a response.
Saabirah Davids said she had to to throw three or four buckets of water into her toilet’s cistern to flush it and she had had the problem for more than a year.
City spokesman Luthando Tyhalibongo said blockages were caused by residents flushing rags, wet wipes and other inappropriate items down their toilets. Rinsing fats and oils off dishes in the kitchen sink also caused problems, he said, as the substances built up inside the pipes and acted like glue.
“We have also found televisions, lawnmowers and similar items in Cape Town’s sewers indicating that residents are getting rid of items via open manholes. Residents must please make use of the City’s solid waste services to dispose of unwanted items. It is illegal to put these in sewers,” he said.
To prevent future blockages, residents should put a strainer in the sink to stop food or other waste going down the drain; wipe cooking fats, oil or grease off the pan, and don’t pour it down the drain; not flush nappies and sanitary products; and check that rainwater gutters don’t flow into the sewer system.