Ricochet News

DA lays criminal charges in Great Fish River sewage saga, says municipality lying

Jul 10, 2019
DA lays criminal charges in Great Fish River sewage saga, says municipality lying

Cradock - The saga surrounding the apparent flow of raw sewage from the Cradock Waste Water Treatment Works into the Great Fish River took another turn on Wednesday when the Democratic Alliance (DA) laid criminal charges against the Chris Hani District Municipality.

"The inability of the Chris Hani District Municipality (CHDM) to curb the flow of raw sewage into the Great Fish River has now become a criminal matter," explained Retief Odendaal MPL - DA Eastern Cape Midlands Constituency Leader.

"Today,[Wednesday] I laid criminal charges against the Municipality and its Acting Municipal Manager, Dr Bhekisisa Mthembu, at the Cradock Police Station. See affidavit here.

"The charges relate to Section 151 (1) of the National Water Act 36 of 1998, following their continued intentional and wilful contamination and pollution of the Great Fish River. If those implicated are found guilty, they can face either up to 10 years imprisonment, a substantial fine or both."

Odendaal aid that the Cradock Waste Water Treatment Works, which falls under auspices of the Chris Hani District Municipality, is still not operational and raw sewage is still flowing unabated into the Great Fish River.

"On Monday, 8 July 2019, I conducted an oversight inspection at the plant, but was prohibited by security guards from entering the site. It was actually very clear to see that no contractor was active on the premises and that untreated sewage was still flowing out of the plant and into the river," he said.

"On Tuesday, the Municipality confirmed in the media that work at the plant is ongoing and that progress is being made.

"This is a blatant lie, as a follow up oversight on Wednesday revealed that there is still no contractor on site. The Municipality is lying to residents while their health and economic futures are being put at risk."

Odendaal said that access to clean drinking water and sanitation are basic human rights.

"Therefore I have also written to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) to immediately intervene in this matter," he added. See letter here.

"The Democratic Alliance is committed to fight for a clean and healthy environment to ensure people are not poisoned by failing infrastructure. This collapsing ANC council, along with the officials, must be held fully accountable."

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