Cape Town suburb complains Black River pollution a health risk

Residents of Hazendal, in Cape Town's southern suburbs, are complaining about the dirty water in the Black River which runs between their houses and the N2. They say it causing an abnormal amount of flies and cockroaches in their homes.

Senior lecturer in Community Health at Stellenbosch University, Jo Barnes says it is highly likely that there could be sewage running in the Black River.

Read: Western Cape heading for WASTE crisis?

My big concern when I heard about the flies and cockroaches is that it is what we call a vector for disease. They come into contact with what is in the river, and the Black River is known to be degraded and severely polluted river. That's not a secret.

Jo Barnes, Senior lecturer in Community Health at Stellenbosch University

When these cockroaches invade people's homes, they bring infections with them. They crawl over surfaces that people use. They are on the floors where the babies and children play and that in itself is already an indicator of health risk.

Jo Barnes, Senior lecturer in Community Health at Stellenbosch University

Barnes says she doesn't know who should take responsibility for this problem, or how it is going to be solved because the Department of Water and Sanitation is dysfunctional.

She says relevant organisations and officials are pointing fingers at one another and no one wants to take responsibility.

What these organisations and decision-making authorities do, is they do not take responsibility. They simply ignore the complaints of the inhabitants along certain rivers.

Jo Barnes, Senior lecturer in Community Health at Stellenbosch University

They claim that they don't have money, but this is a long-standing problem and how long do you take to budget to solve these problems?

Jo Barnes, Senior lecturer in Community Health at Stellenbosch University

Barnes says it is time the residents organised themselves and faced the City of Cape Town officials. She advises residents to tell the City 'enough is enough, they should solve the Black River pollution problems'.

To hear the rest of the conversation with Jo Barnes, listen below:


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Cape Town suburb complains Black River pollution a health risk


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