AfriForum tested the drinking water (blue drop) in 231 towns and the treated sewage (green drop) of 142 sewage treatment plants as part of the organisation’s annual blue and green drop project. The results of this report indicate that a lot of municipalities still disregard Section 24 of the Constitution – which ensures a healthy environment for South Africans.
According to the report, the drinking water of four towns (Hartswater, Jan Kempdorp, Kimberley and Wolmaransstad) and 122 sewage systems did not comply with the national standards. After AfriForum informed the municipalities of these four towns, follow-up water tests indicated that the water is once again suitable for human consumption. It is a noticeable indication of the poor service delivery by the government and municipal officials, especially with regards to sewage treatment plants.
The results of the 2021 report indicate that there is an improvement in the quality of drinking water in South Africa, but it is worrisome that there are still towns that are not supplied with clean, safe drinking water.
“The green drop results are even more worrying – especially with regards to poor sewage management – and it is an indication of further decline of South Africa’s infrastructure. A shortage of competent personnel to manage the infrastructure and the flawed maintenance of plants are also worrying,” says Lambert de Klerk, AfriForum’s Manager of Environmental Affairs.
“There is still a problem with the managing of sewage treatment plants and it is a big source of concern that so many plants are dumping sewage into our rivers. The fact that access was denied at plants is also a cause of concern. The biggest concern – like the case in Lydenburg in Mpumalanga – is that no water was flowing from the outlet at certain plants which means that raw sewage flows from the pump stations and manholes.”
AfriForum’s affiliate Pionier Services Company also successfully managed two water plants and one wastewater treatment plant of the Kgetlengrivier Local Municipality for roughly three months by way of a court order that was won by Kgetlengrivier Concerned Citizens, and Pionier Services Company was appointed to manage the plant on behalf of the forum. Saving and protecting the future of the water resources lies in the hands of local communities and not only in those of the municipality.
AfriForum requests the DWS every year to compile a blue and green drop report and welcomes the fact that the Department earlier this year announced that it will again compile their blue and green drop report to determine the water and infrastructure quality of the country. As soon as the Department publishes their report, AfriForum will carefully work through and monitor it.
“The biggest question is however if the municipalities that knowingly polluted the country’s water sources will be held accountable? The Department has to bare its teeth now and do what they can to criminally prosecute the polluters,” says De Klerk.
As the custodian of water, the DWS is not fulfilling its obligations by applying legislation when municipal authorities are the guilty party.
Is the water in your town clean? SMS the name of your town to 45340 (R1) and give AfriForum the mandate to test the water quality of your town.
* A complete list of towns that were tested during the blue and green drop project is available in the official report. Click here to read the report.