The civil rights organisation AfriForum on 25 July 2019 submitted criminal charges against Dr Imogen Mashazi, Municipal Manager of the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality. These charges deal with the poor municipal management and pollution of the Blesbokspruit.
After various complaints were received from the community regarding sewage spillages in the Blesbokspruit, AfriForum’s Springs branch decided to intervene. Criminal charges were instituted in terms of Section 151 of the National Water Act, 1998 (Act No. 36 of 1998) – which determines that any person that deliberately pollutes water and water resources must be held responsible for their actions. The submission of the charges also follows after the branch already made various attempts to hold a meeting with Mashazi, while they also launched a petition and submitted letters to the Municipality. These attempts have however been ignored for more than two years already, even after the South African National Accreditation System’s (Sanas) accredited water tests, that were performed by AfriForum, clearly indicate to the Municipality that the E.coli levels are unlawfully high.
Section 24(a) of the Constitution determines that everyone is entitled to an environment that takes into account their health and welfare and that the environment must also be protected for future generations.
According to Cornel Swart, Chairperson of the AfriForum branch in Springs, no attention is however given towards this problem. “The Blesbokspruit is a tributary for the Vaal River and various residents of the informal settlement make use of this contaminated water on a daily basis. In addition, the Blesbokspruit is regularly polluted with untreated sewage and the branch attached photos to the charges to serve as proof.”
Swart adds that poor municipal management and maintenance is the main reason for the pollution and that the guilty parties must be held responsible for it.
“The Municipality is suppose to utilise our tax money to maintain the sewage works, perform upgrades where necessary and ensure that untreated sewage doesn’t pollute the environment. The charges were submitted to the SAPS and we received conformation that the charges were handed over to the Green Scorpions for further investigation. We will continually follow up with the investigating officer to monitor the progress of this case.”
AfriForum is making a plea to the community to support the Springs branch. Add your name to the charges: SMS “Springs” to 45342 (R1).