AfriForum sent urgent letters to the Tshwane, Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni Metros on 27 October to address untreated sewage that flows into the Hennops, Kaalspuit and Sesmylspruit Rivers.
These three rivers have been badly polluted for many years because of raw sewage spilling from manholes and regular sewage dumping that occurs. Although AfriForum has sent previous letters about the problem, it has yet to receive replies from any of the Metros. Before the pollution, the rivers had a flourishing fish and bird life, and it was a pleasure to live next to it. Today the picture is completely different: Residents can no longer even open their doors and windows for fear of the disgusting stench.
AfriForum urgently requests the various Metros to address the sewage problem. It also requests urgent meetings with the three Metros to ensure a cooperative effort in solving the problem. AfriForum also demands action plans that indicate how the environment will be rehabilitated, the sewage pollution be stopped and effective infrastructure be erected. The organisation also wants to see that experts are appointed to undertake impact studies of the environment to ascertain the true extent of the damage.
“It is shocking to see raw sewage flowing into the rivers, creating an unhealthy, stinking environment. Some residents bought splendid properties along the rivers, but today these look out onto a river of sewage. AfriForum will continue to put pressure on the Metros to ensure that the problem is resolved and answers are provided,” says Jp Nel, AfriForum’s District Coordinator for the Greater Pretoria South area.
“It is unacceptable that the negligence of the Metros causes communities to live in such disgusting circumstances. AfriForum calls on the Metros to urgently provide communities with answers about the state of the rivers,” says Dewet Ungerer, AfriForum’s District Coordinator for Gauteng South.
Sampie Steinberg, AfriForum’s District Coordinator for the Greater Pretoria North area, says it is a great frustration for the community to not receive feedback when they report problems. “It is therefore important to join AfriForum’s structures so that we can solve these problems together.”
“Communities have a right to healthy, safe environments. This is currently not the case and we should work actively to improve the situation,” says Stephanus Blignault, AfriForum’s District Coordinator for the East Rand.
AfriForum allowed the Metros 15 business days to provide action plans and to arrange meetings with all necessary role-players. The organisation will continue to monitor the situation to ensure that it receives the necessary attention.
AfriForum invites the community to become involved in the organisation’s future projects and campaigns. Join AfriForum and be part of the solution: SMS your name to 45341 (R1).