Cecilia Makiwane leaks make life a misery

Mdantsane NU 9 residents complaining about smelly sewerage waste water leaking from Cecilia Makhiwane Hospital.
Mdantsane NU 9 residents complaining about smelly sewerage waste water leaking from Cecilia Makhiwane Hospital.
Image: Randell Roskruge

Wastewater coming from Cecilia Makiwane Hospital in Mdantsane is posing a health hazard for scores of families in NU9.

Residents who live just behind the hospital live in misery with a powerful stench coming from the dirty water spilling onto the roads. In summer the situation is made much worse as clouds of mosquitoes emerge constantly from the water.

They told of their failures to get hospital management to sort out the mess. 

Zanemvula Luphuwana believes the water comes from the laundromat, kitchen and mortuary that were recently built in the yard. "There was a dam that was built in the yard where the water was supposed to run to," she added.

"But the (health) department failed to install a pipe for the water to run through. Instead they dug a trench.

“The sewage gets dumped in this trench and the reeds are so high. One can even hear frogs croaking day and night. The stench gets worse in the mornings and evenings, accompanied by the mosquitoes that feast on us all night. The insects don't even die when we burn insect-killing things. They are very strong and resistant.”

Smelly sewerage waste water leaking from Cecilia Makhiwane Hospital.
Smelly sewerage waste water leaking from Cecilia Makhiwane Hospital.
Image: Randell Roskruge

Another resident, Xolile Gqokoma, said their appeals to hospital management fell on deaf ears.

“We have complained a number of times. One time one of the managers said they would attend to the problem but they never did. All the wastewater from the mortuary, kitchen and laundry really stinks and we have to live with that. It's not fair, and it is a health hazard as we are breathing polluted air every day. We would really like for the department to install the pipe they were supposed to install in the first place and fix this problem once and for all,” said Gqokoma.

This week residents from the area once again reported the problem to CMH. However the employee in charge of quality assurance said she was still on leave and referred the case to her colleagues.

Department spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo denied the sewage was coming from the kitchen or mortuary.

He said they were “waster leaks” coming from the hospital's ageing infrastructure.

“If some areas of the old hospital were not occupied, a total shutdown would resolve the situation. The biggest challenge is getting as-built information on the old hospital. This information would have made efforts easier to identify all ground pipes and how they run. The as-built information of the new facility is very clear and there are no leaks coming from the newly constructed infrastructure.

“The leaks were identified years back and efforts have been made to identify the origin of them. Samples were taken to the lab and the outcome indicated that it was water containing chlorine, which suggested that it was an underground water leak most likely originating from the old hospital's abandoned ground pipes.  Two retention ponds were built for stormwater at the nurses home and the new hospital. The leaks are neither from the mortuary nor kitchen waste lines.”

But the department  failed to answer as to when the problem would be resolved.

mamelan@dispatch.co.za


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