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DA calls on Green Scorpions to probe Great Fish River sewage debacle

Jun 13, 2019
DA calls on Green Scorpions to probe Great Fish River sewage debacle

Port Elizabeth - Raw untreated sewage is flowing directly into the Great Fish River near Cradock, placing the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people at risk, the Democratic Alliance in the Eastern Cape said on Thursday.

"This is an environmental and economic catastrophe that poses a significant health risk to individuals," described Retief Odendaal MPL - DA Eastern Cape Midlands Constituency Leader.

He said on Tuesday, he conducted an oversight inspection at the Inxuba Yethemba Local Municipality’s wastewater treatment plant in Cradock and "was shocked to find it completely shut down".

"Sewage continues to flow into the non-functional plant and then gets channeled, untreated, into the Great Fish River," Odendaal added.

"The discharge of raw sewage into a natural water resource is illegal in terms of the Constitution, the National Environmental Management Act No. 107 of 1998 and the National Water Act No. 36 of 1998.

"Most of the pumps and all the brush aerators are dysfunctional and the Chris Hani District Municipality, who is responsible for the treatment of wastewater in the Inxuba Yethemba Municipality, seems to not have the finances and capacity to remedy the situation. This is highlighted by the fact that problems at the plant have been ongoing for years."

Odendaal said that the ongoing discharge of raw sewage into the river could result in the water becoming so contaminated that it will no longer be fit for use as an irrigation source for farmers, "not to mention the massive health and environmental risk it could pose to local communities".

"I have written to the Green Scorpions to immediately intervene and find a solution to this problem.  See letter attached here.

"This uncaring and irresponsible district municipality must be brought to book for endangering the livelihood and health of its residents," he added.

"I have also brought this to the attention of the Shadow MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Vicky Knoetze MPL, and she will be requesting an intervention by the MEC for COGTA, Xolile Nqata."

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