Thomas Walters MPL
Spokesperson on Agriculture and Environment
The DA in Gauteng notes with great concern Water Affairs Minister Edna Molewa’s announcement that the projected costs of treating Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) has essentially more than doubled from R924 million to R2.2 billion.
This treatment is short-term in nature and consists of thinning out AMD rather than the long-term solution of proper water purification and industrial and human use of the water.
Gauteng and surrounding provinces are now faced with a situation where even the short-term costs are becoming prohibitive. This is indeed very ominous and urgent reconsideration and action is more important than ever before.
The DA in Gauteng calls on the premier of Gauteng to demand the following rapid actions by national government:
1) Immediate consideration must be given to implementing the long-term solution of full purification of water given the fact that the costs of short-term treatment is rapidly escalating. This will save the people of Gauteng the costs of unnecessary prevarication by government and go straight to what logically needs to be implemented in the long-run anyway. Solutions in this regard have been presented to government and a public call for suggestions may unlock additional suggestions.
2) A full investigation must be done regarding the huge changes in projected costs that happened from one year to the next and that any future costs associated with delayed project management be immediately acted upon.
3) That liability for the costs of AMD be settled as a matter of urgency to minimize the cost from public funds. The polluter must pay as per legislation.
The tale of AMD in Gauteng has been a story of official deafness, minimal action and ineptitude – all at the cost of the health, economic wellbeing and environmental heritage of the people of Gauteng.
It is unconscionable to simply hope that residents will not notice the constant delays, side-stepping and lack of action.