Mpumalanga municipality fined millions for pollution

Henry

The Bethal Magistrate’s Court imposed a fine of R200 million rand on the Govan Mbeki municipality in Mpumalanga for breaching environmental legislation.

The municipality was found guilty on six charges related to the violation of environmental and water laws.

According to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the municipality was found to have committed illegal acts between November 2019 and September 2020 which caused significant pollution of the environment. This was related to the removal and distribution of raw and untreated sewage.

The state and municipality entered into a plea and sentence agreement. Adv. Beauty Cibangu, state prosecutor, told the court that the municipality’s actions had a detrimental effect on ecological systems that affected citizens’ right to well-being.

In mitigation of sentence, the municipality’s legal team argued that the municipality took responsibility for its actions by pleading guilty, which is a sign of remorse.

The municipality was fined R200 million, of which R50 million was suspended for a period of five years on the condition that the municipality is not found guilty of a similar offence.

The municipality was further ordered to repair all identified equipment by December 2026 and to install weighing bridges at all landfills by 30 May 2025.

The NPA welcomed the sentence.