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15 May 2023

Sewage overflow angers fishermen

Precious Gumede (South Coast Herald) Picture: Fishermen Gideon Mans (left) and Ian Logie smell their bait which stinks of raw sewage

Raw sewage flowing into the sea at The Block in Port Shepstone, has become of major concern for fishermen. According to Shelly Beach resident and a fisherman’s, wife Leonnie Mans, tankers come in the early hours of the morning to dump sewage at the pump station, just behind the fishing pier.

Leonnie Mans stands next to the manhole that seeps raw sewage into the sea after tankers offload at the pump station at The Block in Port Shepstone.

“The sewage flows into the pump station and straight into the ocean. This was reported to Ugu District Municipality in June 2022, and since then they have blamed loadshedding for affecting the function of the pump station. They claim the switch goes off during loadshedding.

“As fishers on this pier, we are here from 07:00 to 13:00 on a weekly basis and we see these trucks lined up to dump sewage. The drivers are sometimes shocked to see where their load ends up. Others say they are following their bosses’ instructions and there is nothing they can do, to stop the sewage from flowing into the sea,” Mans explained.

The overflowing manhole at The Block in Port Shepstone.

She said in the past they saw turtles and sharks at The Block, however, now they have disappeared because of the raw sewage.

“This has affected our recreational activity and our sea life. The municipality speaks of building a harbour here, how will they do it, if they don’t want to fix this sewage problem,” she questioned.

Errol Peake, a fisherman has taken pictures of the trucks, and said the sad reality is that people come to the pier to perform cultural rituals and others to collect sea water.

“These people are consuming raw sewage which will make them sick. For us as fishermen, we come here because this fishing spot is safe and convenient. Fishing is our sport and for others it puts food on the table. Now we come here to try our luck. If we are lucky, and if sewage has not been pumped, we might get one or two shad, that’s if we are lucky.”

Errol Peake points to the spot the tankers park when dumping sewage every morning.

Another fisherman, Ian Logie said he has been fishing at The Block since he was a youngster and he owns a fishing business. “I have lost so much revenue. It’s terrible for us and the environment too. We cannot have braais at The Block anymore, or have a meal because of the stench. Something must be done about it,” Logie pleaded.

Ugu District Municipality was contacted for comment, however, none had been received at the time of going to press.