The civil rights watchdog AfriForum wrote a letter to Moppo Mene, the Municipal Manager of the Chris Hani District Municipality, in which the organisation demands an action plan within 48 hours to resolve the ongoing sewage problem in Molteno in the Eastern Cape.
The Municipality must explain in the action plan not only how they will resolve the sewage problem, but how they will clean up the Stormberg River after months of severe pollution. It should also include timelines for the upgrading of the water purification works.
Thomas van Dalen, AfriForum’s Provincial Coordinator for the Eastern Cape, visited the Molteno pump station – that should be pumping raw sewage to the sewage treatment plant – on Wednesday, 21 June 2017 and says that the pump station has not been pumping raw sewage to the plant for two months.
“As a result, the raw sewage is now dumped directly into the Stormberg River. The river flows past a suburb as well as an informal settlement whose residents use the river to prepare food, wash clothes and bathe. Children play in the river and animals drink from it. The pollution poses major health risks to everyone who comes into contact with the water.”
Van Dalen also says that Molteno residents have been experiencing regular water and sewage problems for the past two years. “The pump station does not work and residents experience regular water shortages and major water restrictions – especially between 18:00 and 04:00.”
The Municipality apparently argues that these water restrictions and shortages can be ascribed to outdated, broken infrastructure.
AfriForum will soon reveal further steps, depending on the Municipality’s feedback.