AfriForum this year tested the water (blue drop) in 206 towns and the sewage (green drop) of 124 wastewater treatment plants as part of the organisation’s annual blue and green drop project. The results of this report show that some municipalities are still disregarding section 24 of the Constitution, which ensures a healthy environment for South Africans.
According to the report, the drinking water of four towns (Brits, Delareyville, Sannieshof and Stella) and 65 sewage systems do not comply with the national standards. After AfriForum informed the municipalities of these towns about it, follow-up water tests indicated that the water is once again safe for human consumption. This is a clear indication of poor service delivery by government and municipal officials, in particular with regard to sewage plants.
The communities of the towns in question were involved in the tests and members of the communities received training to conduct the tests. AfriForum also supplied every AfriForum branch with the necessary equipment to perform the tests.
“Communities should insist on their right to access to clean, running water and should henceforth hold the various municipalities accountable by regularly monitoring the quality of drinking water and sewage. The blue and green drop results are alarming – especially with regard to poor sewage management – and this is indicative of the continuing collapse of South Africa’s infrastructure. A shortage of competent staff to manage this infrastructure and the inadequate maintenance of plants are also causing concern,” says Lambert de Klerk, AfriForum’s Manager of Environmental Affairs.
A total of 65 of the 124 sewage purification plants tested during 2019 did not comply with the set standards and there is still a problem with managing wastewater treatment plants. “A major cause of concern is that so many plants are releasing sewage into our rivers. With a view to the future it is going to be essential for experts to become involved voluntarily in order to solve the infrastructure issues to combat water pollution.
“Government is not serious about the health of South Africans. This is clear from the fact that the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) is bankrupt and is facing a parliamentary investigation for mismanagement. The last official Blue and Green Drop Report was published in 2014. The ANC government is trying to hide its incompetence by withholding information from the public and even from parliament, while ordinary people have to face this water crisis on a daily basis. We cannot any longer rely on the state to supply safe water, and this is why we ourselves are testing water quality,” De Klerk says.
As the custodian of water, the DWS does not honour its obligations by enforcing legislation where municipal authorities are the guilty parties.
Is your town’s water clean? SMS the name of your town to 45354 (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 contained in the official report. Click here: AfriForum Blue and green drop project