FF Plus clamps down on sewage pollution

GK CRONJE

26 October 2020

In Bethal, three of its sewage pump stations have not been functioning for an extended period of time. One pump was removed in December 2019, supposedly for repairs, but to this day it has not yet been replaced. And ever since, sewage has been flowing freely into the Blesbokspruit. The pollution is so serious that toilet paper and grey water are visible from a bridge, 12km outside of town, that runs across the tributary.

The FF Plus has lodged a complaint with the acting chief director of Environmental Affairs, Land and the Green Scorpions in Mpumalanga, Ms Pamela Ntuli, about the constant and serious sewage dumping in the province. There are quite a number of areas in the province that raise serious concerns about the failure of municipal infrastructure. The municipalities' ineptness has resulted in natural resources being flooded with untreated human waste, which will have a long-term negative impact on the environment as well as the people living there. In Bethal, three of its sewage pump stations have not been functioning for an extended period of time. One pump was removed in December 2019, supposedly for repairs, but to this day it has not yet been replaced. And ever since, sewage has been flowing freely into the Blesbokspruit. The pollution is so serious that toilet paper and grey water are visible from a bridge, 12km outside of town, that runs across the tributary.

At Mbombela Local Municipality, Hazyview, slime dams were built, but it does not prevent large amounts of waste from ending up in the world-renowned Sabie River. At Lekwa Local Municipality, Standerton, not even an interdict obtained from the High Court in 2018 against the Lekwa Municipality could put an end to the pollution seeing as the infrastructure is not being properly maintained and repaired. Large volumes of sewage water end up in the Vaal River due to the laxity of these municipal officials. At Emalahleni Local Municipality, Witbank, reports indicate that very few of the sewage plants in Witbank and Kriel are still functional, and that the sewage that ends up in the Olifants River will in the long run have a destructive effect on the environment. It is estimated that at only one of the non-functional sewage plants, at least 26 million litres of sewage water end up in the Olifants River every month and as a result, the Witbank Dam, Loskop Dam as well as other dams in the catchment area are polluted. “This problem must be addressed at once.

The FF Plus is of the opinion that that the Green Scorpions must implement the necessary intervention strategies to combat the pollution and must also determine how much damage has already been done to the natural resources. The FF Plus will put pressure on the provincial ANC government to immediately take action against the individuals who are failing to do their duty to maintain infrastructure and whose responsibility it is to ensure that sewage water is treated and does not pollute natural resources.”

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