Looming SAHRC complaint ruffles no feathers

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GK CRONJE

26 October 2021

In 2014, the DA yet again wrote to the MEC, and focused on the Klipbou manhole near Wesselton. To date, the manhole is still overflowing.

During the course of last week, a local businessman alerted the Tribune ePaper to an extensive sewage overflow that is polluting the Pet Dam. The pollution is to such an extent that the overflow’s stench, which is close to the old Seapike building on the swimming pool’s side, can be smelt on the opposite side of the Pet Dam. This is but one of many instance of raw sewage that flow into the Pet Dam on a daily basis, with no response from Msukaligwa Local Municipality, Gert Sibande District Municipality, or any other role players, both on local and provincial levels. The impact on the wildlife and wetland animals, especially notable the Egrets that grace Ermelo, is a cause of great concern, as the spillage eventually flows down to the Pet Dam, leaving a trail of pollution and wildlife death in its wake.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has alerted the Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) MEC on several occasions, and has been shining the spotlight on the issue as far back as 2008. In 2014, the DA yet again wrote to the MEC, and focused on the Klipbou manhole near Wesselton. At the time, the SABC was present and recorded various of the overflow sites. Seven years later, in 2021, the Klipbou manhole, along with a myriad of other sites, still spew a constant flow of raw sewage. The Pet Dam, which is being expensively polluted by mismanagement from MLM, has an overflow which ties in with the Klein Drinkwater stream, ultimately ending up in the Vaal River.

Msukaligwa Local Municipality is also subject to a complaint to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) relating to the hundreds of sewage overflow site in Ermelo, Wesselton, Sun City and the surrounding areas. Scope of the complaint includes the fact that MLM and its officials fails to adhere to the constitutional precepts as contained in the bill of rights, which deals with promoting health and safety of both the environment and residents under its governance, the fact that MLM fails to adhere to the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA), and also fails to adhere to section 151 (1) (i) of the National Water Act. Lastly, MLM fails to comply with the Municipal Systems Act, which recognizes the role of the municipal council in promoting a safe and healthy environment to the community. An enquiry regarding the overflow into the Pet Dam has been sent to Mandla Zwane, municipal spokesman. At the time of publication, the enquiry was simply ignored, and the overflow into the dam is still ongoing. You may view more photos and videos on our Facebook page, Tribune Ermelo.