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DA claims Joe Gqabi Municipality covering up sewage discharge into Gariep Dam

Oct 16, 2019
DA claims Joe Gqabi Municipality covering up sewage discharge into Gariep Dam

Mthatha - The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Wednesday claimed that the Joe Gqabi District Municipality (JGDM) is lying to the National Department of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation "to cover up the mass discharge of untreated sewage into local rivers and the Gariep Dam".

"On Monday, the DA conducted oversight inspections at the Wastewater Treatment Works (WwTW) at Oviston and Venterstad and found both to be non-functional," said Marina van Zyl - a DA councillor in the Joe Gqabi District Municipality

"Untreated sewage from these plants are flowing directly into the Gariep Dam."

She said that the DA has submitted questions to the municipality, asking if it is aware of the non-functional treatment works at Venterstad and Oviston and if so, what steps are being taken to remedy the situation.

"We have given the municipality until close of business, Monday, 21 October 2019, to reply."

Van Zyl said that in July, during an oversight inspection at the Burgersdorp WwTW, the DA found it to be non-functional.

"Untreated sewage was flowing directly into the Stormberg River. This river flows to the Orange River, which feeds into the Gariep Dam," she described.

"The DA then posed questions to the JGDM regarding the crisis at the Burgersdorp treatment works, but to date it remains non-operational.

"The issues picked up during DA oversight inspections are in stark contrast with recent answers given by the Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation, Lindiwe Sisulu, to questions submitted regarding the state of treatment works in the JGDM."

Van Zyl said that according to the JGDM, there are 16 WwTW in operation in the district.

"Of these, according to the municipality, the only non-functioning treatment works are those situated at Mount Fletcher, Maclear and Sterkspruit.

"No mention is made of the WwTW in Venterstad, but according to the municipality the WwTW at Burgersdorp are in 'prime condition' and the plant at Oviston is 'operational'," she added.

"This information provided to Minister Sisulu is clearly blatantly untrue.

"The Gariep Dam is the largest storage reservoir in South Africa and supplies hundreds of thousands of people with water. Pollution flowing directly, or from nearby streams, into the dam poses a massive health risk to humans and animals.

"By allowing actions which pollute or detrimentally affect a water source, the municipality is also acting illegally in terms of Section 151 (1) of the National Water Act."

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