The Democratic Alliance welcomes the announcement yesterday that the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) will be taking legal action to force the Inxuba Yethemba Local Municipality and Chris Hani District Municipality to stop polluting the Great Fish River.
The announcement follows after the Democratic Alliance earlier this month revealed that 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 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.
What is disconcerting is that DWS acknowledges that they had instructed the Chris Hani District municipality to rectify problems at the Cradock Waste Water Treatment Works as far back as October 2016.
Clearly nothing has been done since then, in fact the conditions at the plant have been left to deteriorate to the point that it is now completely dysfunctional.
According to the DWS, the application will be submitted to the state attorneys by the end of the week, and I will continue to monitor the progress of said application.
I again call on the DWS to publicly release all data from the water samples taken from the Great Fish.
That a court order needs to be obtained to prevent a municipality from befouling the drinking water of its own residents is a shocking indictment on the poor state of affairs of municipalities in the Eastern Cape.
The Democratic Alliance is committed to improving service delivery to the people and will continue to hold local government to account to ensure that service levels improve.
Retief Odendaal MPL
DA EC Midlands Constituency Leader
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