BCC overwhelmed by sewer bursts

Bulawayo City Council (BCC) says it is overwhelmed by sewer burst reports with an average of 50 reports made in a day owing to ageing sewer infrastructure.

This came out during virtual World Water Day commemorations hosted by Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) on Monday, under the theme ‘valuing water’ which focused on access to water in Bulawayo.

Speaking during the meeting, BPRA secretary for water, Joseph Nkomazana highlighted that residents are now experiencing daily sewer bursts in their different wards around the city.

Nkomazana said residents now fear the recurrence of a Diarrhea outbreak in the city.  

“Burst sewers are now a daily thing, we don’t know what is happening, the sewer is the most dangerous thing, remember what happened in Luveve, even now we are going to experience the same problem. All the 29 suburbs are talking about the sewer bursts, Last week I was talking to residents in Makokoba. They are all facing the same problem,” said Nkomazana.

He criticised the local authority for taking longer to respond to reports

“At times residents try to report through the call centre but no one picks up that line. These days there is Covid-19 we are not allowed to report some of the cases personally at the Municipality offices, so how do we deal with the situation because we are not allowed to go in numbers to report these faults. I think there has to be an improvement on the call centre numbers,” said BPRA Secretary for water.

In response to the problems highlighted, BCC Senior Public Relations Officer Nesisa Mpofu said the constant sewer burst experienced throughout the city is due to ageing infrastructure.

“The issue of sewer that you touched on, as mentioned its ageing infrastructure and occasionally we do have problems with input, for instance, these last two-three weeks we had challenges with fuel and we slowed down in terms of our responsiveness, for instance, our backlog when it comes to sewer within the City itself, it goes into 185, that was last week and we get in a day over 50 reports which we have to clear,” said Mpofu.

She added, “So, there are a lot of carryovers and thus all talking to infrastructure that needs to be rehabilitated.”

Meanwhile, Mpofu encouraged residents to also utilize other BCC platforms to report service delivery issues.  

“BCC does have a WhatsApp number that you can send your message to, some people even send their reports through social media, through our website.

“The challenge we have is responsiveness because if the call centre will receive the call but if there are not enough resources to be able to respond, there is an issue of human capital, an issue of input, I mentioned fuel, even pipes and protective clothing for people in the sewer system or water. Those things if we have a gap, we can’t be responsive as we want to be, so it is talking to our financial status as well. If that improves, I am sure the responsiveness will improve,” said Mpofu.

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