20 years of sewage nightmare for Luveve families... councillors propose relocation for long-suffering residents


SEWER bursts that have remained unrepaired for 20 years at some homes in Luveve, Bulawayo and forcing residents to live with human waste have prompted councillors to propose relocation of the affected families.

In June this year, Luveve residents complained that they had been living with flowing raw sewage in their area for the past 20 years after council failed to repair burst sewage pipes in their yards.

There are fears of a possible diarrhoea outbreak in the suburb, which was the epicentre of the 2019 outbreak that killed 13 people and infected over 1 000 others.  

Latest council minutes show that councillor Tinevimbo Maposa expressed concern over sewage hotspots in the city, and demanded to know council’s plan to deal with the problem.

“Councillor Ferbbie Msipha  also complained about delayed response to sewer bursts. Houses 1041 to 1048 in Luveve had serious sewage challenges for a long time. It is prudent to relocate these residents elsewhere,” the minutes read.

Msipha urged the committee to visit the affected residents and come up with a lasting solution.

“Councillor Silas Chigora also noted that Waterford had a lot of sewer bursts of late. From his assessments, a bigger pipe was needed. He also urged council to be proactive in dealing with sewage management,” the minutes read.

“In response, councillor Donaldson Mabuto highlighted that all concerns had been noted. Water shedding was affecting sewage systems. Residents were encouraged to do a big flash during water shedding.

“Sludge accumulated during the water shedding period. He encouraged residents to stop flashing materials such as diapers and sanitary wear.”

In June this year, a Luveve resident, Agnes Sibanda (67), said she had been living with sewage at her house for 20 years.

“I fell sick in 2015. Doctors failed to treat me until I went to South Africa where doctors checked my blood and told me that it was infected with waste. Even my dogs are dying due to the same problem,” Sibanda said then.

She said the death of her dogs prompted her to approach a veterinary doctor who confirmed that the dogs had been infected with waste from the sewer at her house.

Acting Bulawayo City Council director of engineering Sikhumbuzo Ncube said lack of resources was the major challenge causing delays in sewer repairs.

“It's not Luveve only, it is the whole city. As I speak, I have received more than 90 reports of sewage pipe bursts. The Luveve sewer system needs overhauling. It is now too old but there are no resources to do that,” Ncube said.

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