Diabolical inequality – poorest Cape Town residents wade through raw sewage

Statement by Brett Herron, GOOD Secretary General and Member of the Western Cape Provincial Parliament

19 July 2021

On Saturday I responded to a call for help from members of the community in Langa, Cape Town, who have been living with accumulating daily sewerage spills literally on their doorsteps.

Residents of the Zones and Church Square in Langa have been logging complaints with the City since May 2021.

According to residents, when the City sends officials out, they take photographs and never return. The same process has repeated itself over and over again for months.

No middle-class community would tolerate, or be expected to tolerate, stepping stones across a sea of sewerage and stormwater, in order to access their homes.

In the City’s hierarchy of priorities the poorest communities occupy the lowest rung despite being most in need of urgent intervention.

The stench and visuals of the raw sewerage are gut-retching and soul-destroying. The area is awash with a mixture of raw and drying sewerage, together with stormwater that has not drained away.

The conditions are inhumane and a gross violation of human rights. No human being should be expected to live like this.

The City of Cape Town has the resources to fix this but chooses not to.

I have written to the Mayor of Cape Town requesting his urgent intervention.

The City needs to immediately:
• Clean up the sewerage spillages in the Zones
• Unblock the stormwater systems
• Repair the failing sanitation infrastructure so that families have reliable access to water and sanitation
• Resolve the long outstanding blocked sewers in Church Square.

On my way to Langa, I had a tyre burst on my car after hitting an invisible pothole submerged in deep water flooding the roads.

The DA likes to describe Cape Town as a world-class and caring city. But conditions in Langa, and in most other townships where people of colour live, tell a fundamentally different story.