The Leiwater Action Group (LAG), the residents who have been working towards solving the problems of the Aberdeen furrows, took the initiative on Monday 7 January to clean up one stretch of furrow in town.
Organiser Judith Dardis was thrilled with the support from members of the group, with several people donning their boots and gardening gloves and getting stuck into the dirty and often backbreaking task. LAG chairman Dick van Wyk, and members Richard Davison, Ian Reed, Gordon Stewart with Marshall Kombela and Ronaldo Ndongeni, and Tony and Judith Dardis with Frans Maartens, all worked with a committed determination rarely seen in those who are actually paid to do this work. Beth Chaplin, who is not even part of the group or an irrigation water user, came to assist, and donated some black bags, and a donation was also received towards the expenses from Jean Watermeyer.
Usave management also were very supportive: manager Linden April donated black bags; Samuel Jansen found boxes for glass shards; and branch manager Marian Simon brought out very welcome ice-cold water for everyone who worked.
Despite repeated promises from the municipality – including one given that very morning – no tractor and trailer were provided to remove the rubbish. Tony Dardis and Dick van Wyk used their personal vehicles and made several trips to the municipal dump.
Several residents commented on the stark contrast in the efforts of this group and those of a team of municipal employees who were supposed to be working on the open ditch in Porter Street between the post office and the magistrate’s court, but were mostly just sitting or standing in the shade. “It seemed as though the municipal workers and their supervisor were mocking the LAG group for their efforts” said one angry resident, who overheard a worker tell Tony Dardis contemptuously “You are never going to get water. Never again.”
Although it is the responsibility of the municipality both to clean up rubbish in the town and to clean and maintain the water furrows, most of the blockages of the furrows in town are due to litter that has been carelessly dropped in the streets or even in the furrows themselves. “The rubbish found in the furrows was mainly cooldrink bottles, crisp packets, sweet wrappers, alcohol bottles, takeaway containers, plastic wrappings and straws – all due to people just dumping their litter” said Judith Dardis, expressing her frustration. “These are noticeably luxury goods, not staples, consumed on the street and the wrappings just dumped”.