HRC receives complaint about pollution in Polokwane rivers

Henry

The FF Plus has lodged a complaint with the Human Rights Commission (HRC) against the Polokwane local municipality (Pietersburg) which has so far taken no steps to stop the serious dumping of untreated sewage into important rivers.

In July 2022, the party already sent an urgent letter to the mayor, Makoro John Mpe, as well as the acting municipal manager, Thuso Nemugumeni, about the matter.

They were asked to immediately find a solution for the sewage flowing from the Seshego sewage treatment plant outside Polokwane into the Bloed River.

“An official at the plant confirmed at the time that most of the pumps were out of order and there were not enough chemicals available to treat the sewage,” says Marcelle Maritz, provincial leader of the FF Plus.

The solid material is only separated and the rest is then pumped through after which it ends up in the Blood River which flows down into the Sand River.

The Sand River, a tributary of the Limpopo River, is one of the country’s shorter and shallower rivers and flows from the south (Polokwane) to the north through the Soutpansberg.

“Underground water sources are already so badly polluted that residents and farmers with boreholes cannot use the water for human consumption,” adds Maritz.

Since then, the completion of this sewage treatment plant has been postponed in favor of the construction of a larger plant, the Seshego Wastewater Treatment Works.

“So there are not enough funds to complete both projects at the same time. In addition, it appears that the municipal project managers do not follow the guidelines of the Department of Water Affairs for construction carefully.”

During an inspection visit in January this year to an unfinished bridge project, the municipal public accounts committee (MPAC), of which the FF Plus is a member, found that a stream of raw sewage from the communities in ward 8 (extension 44) was now also contributing to the pollution of the Sand River.

“It is scandalous that the ANC-controlled municipality is obviously allowing precious natural resources to be polluted and communities’ health to be put at risk. With the upcoming election, residents have an opportunity to get rid of the ANC.”