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'Sick' Strandfontein residents angered by City's handling of water contamination

25 February 2020 1:48 PM
Tags:
Water contamination
Strandfontein
sewage
residents
Elton Jansen
City of Cape Town
Zahid Badroodien
Strandfontein water
Angry residents of Strandfontein have slammed the City of Cape Town for poor communication and dismissing their health concerns.

Last week, sewage entered the potable water pipes in the area, which led to smelly, discoloured and contaminated drinking water.

Many residents remain reluctant to drink the water due to a lack of communication throughout the ordeal, despite the City insisting that the water quality has been restored.

RELATED: Strandfontein tap water safe for consumption after sewage contamination - City

Strandfontein Ratepayers and Residents Association chairperson Mario Oostendurp says he's been contacted by at least 80 residents who claim to have fallen ill because of the contamination.

He says city officials have dismissed their health-related concerns, while patients presenting with diarrhoea, vomiting, mouth ulcers and other symptoms have increased.

Responses haven't been forthcoming. We are yet to receive the proper notification on the level of contamination.

Mario Oostendorp, Chairperson - Strandfontein Ratepayers and Residents Association

Had it happened in Constantia, the communication then would have been brilliant.

Mario Oostendorp, Chairperson - Strandfontein Ratepayers and Residents Association

The City's Zahid Badroodien says it's "clinically impossible" that some of the alleged illnesses are linked to the tap water.

There's no way that a resident who drank the contaminated water over this weekend is going to have ulcers in theri mouth or vagina. It's just clinically impossible.

Zahid Badroodien, MayCo member for Community Services and Health - City of Cape Town

Badroodien says residents must distinguish between their concerns over the general municipal water quality and the specific cross-contamination incident last week Thursday.

In response to allegations that city officials could not be reached, Badroodien encourages residents to lodge complaints through the correct municipal channels, and not via the ward councillor.

He claims that officials have used various channels to communicate with residents and adds that contractors will be held accountable if is found that the contamination was a result of negligence.

Zaheeda, a resident of Bayview, says the Strandfontein community is still scared to drink tap water, while another local wants clarity on the level of exposure the community was subjected to.

For weeks now, I've had to buy bottled water purely because the water that came out of our taps was brown. When you open the taps, you can smell that there is something wrong with the water.

Zaheeda, Strandfontein resident

We are so scared to use the water that comes out of our taps.

Zaheeda, Strandfontein resident

How long has the City of Cape Town been aware of this water being contaminated? Why were we as residents not informed of the condition of our water?

Zaheeda, Strandfontein resident

How are they going to prevent this lack of communication from happening in future?

Lance, Strandfontein resident

A community meeting will be held on Thursday at the Strandfontein Community Hall where the City is expected to give feedback to residents.

Oostendurp says he hopes officials will give a truthful response to their concerns, instead of sweeping the matter under the rug.

At the same time, Strandfontein councillor Elton-Enrique Jansen has also denied claims that residents were unable to reach him to report complaints and get clarity on the incident.

Jansen says he escalated all the reports and complaints to senior city officials. However, he concedes that the municipality needs to work on its communication with the public.

My phone was inundated, ringing with WhatsApp messages. I tried my very best to get the information through to the community.

Elton-Enrique Jansen, Strandfontein councillor

Listen to the in-depth discussion:

Listen to the Strandfontein councillor on Breakfast with Refilwe Moloto:


25 February 2020 1:48 PM
Tags:
Water contamination
Strandfontein
sewage
residents
Elton Jansen
City of Cape Town
Zahid Badroodien
Strandfontein water

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