Residents plan class action against Merafong

Despite the fact that the huge project of repairing the sewerage system has almost been completed, sewage is still streaming into yards and streets in Khutsong Ext. 3.
Despite the fact that the huge project of repairing the sewerage system has almost been completed, sewage is still streaming into yards and streets in Khutsong Ext. 3.

Several furious residents are so fed up with the way they are being treated by the Merafong City Local Municipality that they want to go to court.
According to one of them, Mr Mzwandile Maila, he and other residents have tried everything within their power to get help with problems like continual sewage leaks in sinkhole prone areas. The group, who call themselves the Khutsong Action Group,
have not only tried to get help from the municipality, they have also written to the MEC for cooperative governance and traditional affairs, Mr Paul Mashatile, questioning the fitness of Merafong’s current political leadership to run the area.
‘The mayor fails to promote a safe and healthy environment. She has failed to attend to the sewer spills that have been affecting the people of Khutsong, Khutsong Ext. 3, and Khutsong South Ext. 2. She has failed to monitor the water leaks in Khutsong and the municipality is still billing the residents.
Merafong expects them to pay for the wastage and leaks. This negligence includes the poor maintenance of roads, electricity infrastructure, sewage spills, the failure to deal with the sewage spillage and the failure to stop water leaks in Khutsong and Khutsong
South Ext. 4. This practice is unacceptable and unlawful,’ Maila laments.
The group has major gripes about various other service delivery fails in the area, such as the old Carletonville Police Station that has not yet been repaired, and the findings of forensic reports on irregularities at the municipality that have never been released.
Becuase the municipality, the MEC and the office of the public protector, who visited Khutsong after being called upon by the residents, have failed to sort out the problem, the group now plans to take the legal route. They intend suing the municipality for the ongoing sewage spills that have led to environmental deterioration.
‘There is a significant risk of symptoms like headaches, unusual tiredness and  concentration difficulties that have been recorded as well as an increased possibility of respiratory and skin diseases. There have also been a high number of cases of  irritability and moodiness.
‘People have been affected by sinkholes that were brought on by leaking sewerage pipes. The people of Khutsong demand R50 000 for the trauma experienced by them. They want R10 000 for content and R300 000 for the properties that were damaged by the municipality. They also want R150 000 for the diseases caused by the sewage
spills,’ Maila said. He added that the claims are based on the amounts that some councillors were previously paid out for the loss/damage to their properties.
‘The forensic reports are the documents upon which further investigations and actions will be based, including actions against current personnel.
Because the release of these documents may impact on our success in instituting
actions, they cannot be supported at this stage,’ a municipal spokesperson answered on the matter of the reports.
By this week, the serious sewage leaks in areas like Khutsong Ext. 3 had still not stopped, even though the contractors are supposed to have almost finished the work. This project to repair the damage to the sewerage system caused by sinkholes is funded through the national disaster fund.

‘Merafong will provide a comprehensive reply by the next issue of the Herald,’ the municipal spokesperson promised.

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