The sprawling suburb of Tsholofelo East lies a few minutes' drive from the Gaborone city centre. Whilst the estate is fast-growing into a go-to leafy suburb, there is a disturbing nose-cutting reek that increasingly threatens to take away its the beauty; the new suburb is quite clean.
It has a diametrically changed skyline compared to the often times dark-streets of its neighbours from the crowded older locations of Phiring, Tshweneng, Tshwenyane, Tsholofelo and Ledumang amongst others.
It has also attracted one of the city’s biggest malls, Sarona City expected to open before end of this year. With such unpalatable scent permeating the air in the area, the stench might be a serious turn-off.
Mornings and evenings seem to be the worst moments when the smell reaches its all-time high sending residents under cover to escape the unpleasant odour.
The stench from the city’s Broadhurst sewage ponds has become a permanent feature likely to cause some health concerns to residents.
The case of Tsholofelo East is a typical example of developments clashing with the people. In an endeavour to provide services of managing sewer, the Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) finds itself on the receiving end with an array of accusations for the unpleasant smell, which is a product from the sewer ponds in line of management.
A solution is in the pipeline as authorities are currently busy at work, coming up with solutions that could rescue troubled people.
As the winds blow from the sewer dams manned by the parastatal WUC, the victims of the unbearable smell include Phakalane and the Glen Valley barracks vicinity.
All eyes have been on the Gaborone City Council (GCC), as the service provider and all hope has been heaped upon the municipality despite that WUC has all the answers to the concerns of the people.
Father Maphongo, Gaborone city mayor is aware of the concerns of the people of Gaborone, especially Tsholofelo East residents.
“Well, I think you have aptly said it. WUC is the parastatal in charge of sewer ponds and lines and the whole management of wastewater,” the mayor explained.
He was steadfast that they can only appeal to WUC to manage the offensive stench generated from the pools of wastewater.
“I must admit that I don’t have the technical know-how of what’s going on at the sewer ponds, but as the council, we are in talks with WUC in an endeavour to arrest the situation,” Maphongo told Mmegi this week.
He, however, admitted that no timelines have been set by the WUC as to when the problem would be completely addressed.
He stressed that since the GCC provides most of the services to the people, “there is no way we can distance ourselves from the concerns of the people.”
In a written response to our enquiry in which we sought to know if the foul could be managed, WUC strategy and corporate affairs director, Peter Sedingwe said: “The closeness of Tsholofelo East extension to the wastewater treatment plant naturally causes a smell to the area.”
He indicated that the smell is characteristic of the incoming sewage.
“As the flows increase owing to developments, the smell intensifies particularly at peak hours, which are usually mornings and evenings. Another contributing factor is that the area is on the windward direction of the Broadhurst Screw Pump Station and the Broadhurst stabilisation ponds,” he further explained.
He, however conceded that the treatment processes, which are currently being enhanced through the plant upgrades, could reduce the smell.