ActionSA Writes to PP & SAHRC Demanding Answers Regarding Birch Acres Raw Sewage Dam

Yesterday I wrote to both the CEO of the SA Human Rights Commission, Adv. Tseliso Thipanyane as well as the Gauteng Provincial Representative in the Office of the Public Protector Ms. Winnie Manyathela informing them of the development of a raw sewerage dam matter brought to our attention by the residents of Birch Acres in the City of Ekurhuleni.

The residents assert that this issue emanates from the City’s inaction and poor maintenance of the sewerage system in that community.

Most concerning is that because of the size of the dam, it has become even more challenging for residents’ sewer pipelines to be serviced by the municipality.

During the summer months the stench becomes unbearable something no human being should have to endure, a situation which has been in existence since 2001 and the City has done nothing to remedy the situation despite residents reaching out to the City as well as the Provincial Health Department on numerous occasions.

Furthermore, they have stated that during the raining season the dam fills up and all the sewage spills over into the resident’s properties as well as the local church grounds.

But alas all calls for assistance have fallen on deaf ears.

On 25 March 2021, ActionSA conducted an oversight visit to the area to understand the depth of the problem and we were horrified to see the conditions the residents of Birch Acres are forced to live under as well as the complete breakdown in the provision of services by the City.

In our letter, we have requested that the Office of the Public Protector institutes an investigation into the City’s failure to deal with the breakdown in service delivery and the raw sewage dam and to inform us as to whether this could be done by no later than 30 April 2021.

It is deeply perturbing that this type of call is increasingly becoming a norm in our work as ActionSA, where residents reach out for our help as a last resort.