‘Our houses flood with sewer’: Cowdray Park residents appeal for sewer line connection

A stand-off between the Bulawayo City Council and private developer, Alpha Construction, has left some Cowdray Park residents at risk of contracting waterborne diseases as their houses are yet to be connected to the sewer system.

The residents have gone for 14 years without proper ablution facilities and are forced to use septic tanks or pit latrines.

A CITE news crew visited the affected residents who narrated how the situation has remained unsolved despite several engagements with council officials.

“We have been staying here for 14 years, at first we were using blair toilets then they removed them and we were forced to use the septic tanks but we have small space to keep up digging,” said a resident Tshuma.

She said residents don’t have anywhere to offload their waste.

“At times these septic toilets depreciate on their own but during the rainy season it is difficult as they fill up fast and they start flowing to the yards where children play and we fear that children may contract diseases,” said Tshuma.

“We are appealing for the City Council to connect the sewer system for us as it is the only line without the connected sewer system.”

Another resident Phakamani Ndlovu said the local authority promised to connect the sewer system for the residents but nothing has materialised.

“They promise to connect the sewer system but nothing has been finalised yet, as it is we are using septic tanks but the challenge is that this area is very swampy so the septic tanks fill up very fast and it spills over to our yards,” said Ndlovu.

He said the residents fear contracting diseases as the system is not efficient.

“We tried to engage the council and they are saying the developer is the one who is expected to connect the sewer system for us,” said Ndlovu.

In addition, Sbekezelo Moyo said residents are also forced to drain the septic tanks when they fill up.

“We have tried to go to the City Council for them to help us but no help has been offered so far, what we are appealing for is to get a connected sewer system,” said Moyo.

Moyo said the residents are now fighting amongst themselves as some have equipped systems which connect many houses which however affects other residents.

“When they open their sewer system, we are then forced to keep the doors closed as there will be many flies, we have tried to send our request to council but we have not received any help,” she said.

A resident’s representative, Fowayo Ncube said they need a solution on the matter.

“People have been tormented for a very long time and they don’t even know where to go. We have a problem with the City Council when we want other services, they tell us that the area has not been handed over to them by the developer so at times it’s hard to get the services,” said Ncube.

“We want to know the time frame that was given to the developer to develop because every contract has an expiry date and when we tell the City  Council this they are saying the matter is before the courts.”

Contacted for a comment, Ward 28 Councillor, Kidwell Mujuru said the matter is before the courts.

“Our hands are tied as Council; the developer is the one who is supposed to put the sewer system for them. The matter is before the courts and they are also aware of this,” said Cllr Mujuru.

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