Hold municipalities accountable for water pollution‚ says DA

Since April this year there have been 19 cases of waste water treatment works (WWTW) overflowing into water bodies‚ the Democratic Alliance said on Sunday.

This had been revealed in replies to questions posed by the DA to the Minister of Water and Sanitation‚ Nomvula Mokonyane.

Sewage humansdorp

The responses had also revealed that the waste water treatment works in 90 municipalities across the country were considered high risk.

DA spokesman on water and sanitation‚ Leon Basson‚ said the minister must reveal the full extent of the crisis and release the 2013/14 Blue and Green Drop reports without delay.

These reports rate South Africa’s water quality management and the performance of WWTW respectively and give South Africans the opportunity to evaluate the service delivery performance of their local government‚ he said.

“I will write to the chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation‚ Mr Mlungisi Johnson‚ and request him to summon the Minister to brief Parliament on the progress made since the last reporting cycle and indicate where government is currently intervening to stop the deterioration of WWTW and the pollution of our water resources‚” Basson added.

The minister should also indicate what the Department was doing‚ in partnership with the South African Police Service and the National Prosecuting Authority‚ to ensure that municipal officials were held criminally liable for the pollution of the country’s water resources.

“In response to a DA question in August this year Minister Mokonyane told parliament that she expected to release the reports by 30 September 2015‚ but this date has come and gone without a word from the Minister.

“The 2012/13 Green Drop Report – which was released only to individual municipalities – showed that 30.1% of WWTW (248 in total) were in a critical state‚ another 161 were rated “poor”.

“What is even more concerning‚ is that the Minister’s current list of high risk municipalities‚ as revealed in the parliamentary reply‚ does not even include the City of Tshwane where the Rooiwal water treatment plant is spilling high volumes of raw sewage sludge into the Apies River‚ endangering the lives of thousands of residents in the area‚” Basson stated.

He pointed out that Section 151(1)(j) of the National Water Act‚ Act 36 of 1998 made it a criminal offence for anyone to unlawfully and intentionally or negligently commit any act or omission which detrimentally affected or was likely to affect a water resource.

“The 2013 Green Drop Report also indicates that the Western Cape has the most number of Green Drop Certificates for its waste water systems.

In the Western Cape‚ the DA run government refuses to have communities being exposed to unnecessary health risks because of water pollution. We believe the national government should follow suit and respect the dignity of South Africans.

“The DA believes every South African has the inalienable right to water and will continue to hold government to account for its mismanagement of our water infrastructure and resources. No South African should be at risk of consuming polluted water‚” Basson added.

Source: RDM News Wire.

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