By ‘Odidi Matai-Sigudla
Hooggenoeg is one of the many neglected areas under the jurisdiction of the Makana Municipality. The small community on the top of a hill suffers from numerous sewage leaks that often flood the residents’ yards. One house, in particular, is the house of 50-year-old Zoliswa Noyisi on 7th Avenue, which caught fire five years ago.
Leaking sewage now seeps through the charred house’s walls. “It was reported to the municipality. They didn’t come even to look,” says an angry neighbour who chose to remain anonymous. “The water goes into her room. Uyagula lomfazi (this lady is sick). She had problems with Tuberculosis (TB).”
Noyisi told Grocott’s Mail that because of the poor state of the house after the fire, her husband caught TB and later died from it. Noyisi’s brother-in-law, suffering from the same illness, was admitted to Livingstone Hospital in Gqeberha recently and at the time of this interview, was in critical condition. Just six days after Grocott’s Mail conducted this interview, he too died of TB.
Noyisi spends her time gathering wood for a fire to cook and keep her children and herself warm, and says she makes do with the little she has. The poor condition of the shell of the house she and her small family live in, and the constant sewage that floods the floor of her house, have created a situation where a disease outbreak is waiting to happen.
“They were left stranded,” says the neighbour. “There’s nothing those people [municipality]do. Even when the house was newly burnt down, they were helped by Abahlali (residents) to put in zinc (sheets to cover the top of the house to make a roof). They [Disaster Management] never came. There was none of them here.”
Noyisi says ANC members assisted with the zinc sheets. The rain still manages to drip through the visible holes and run down the inside walls of the home. With the harsh cold we have been experiencing as a country, it is a miracle that most of the family survived this past winter.
“Disaster Management should have been there,” Berend Walters, one of the community members who had helped the family by installing an electricity box and cable. Walters frustratedly adds. “What we need to do is to go burn tires there [City Hall] again. Then they will [do something].”
Grocott’s Mail has asked Makana Municipality for a response and will publish it once received.