By Jacques Smalle, DA Limpopo Leader:
The Democratic Alliance has laid criminal charges against officials of the Modimolle and Waterburg District, who exacerbated the spill of Sulphuric Acid into the Nylrivier.
The river is now so contaminated that villages and communities have been left without any drinking water, and farms downriver are facing an agricultural crisis.
The DA believes that it is criminally negligent that officials of the Municipalities did not contain the Sulphuric Acid spill, and instead took decisions that furthered the ecological damage.
The alleged omissions of Municipal officials include:
- Preventing the containment of Sulphuric Acid that spilled onto the roadway, by Fire and Rescue officials hosing the acid into the Nylrivier using their fire truck hoses.
- Refusing the assistance of a chemical spill mop-up team from Gauteng, who were turned around while on the road to Modimolle, by Fire and Rescue officials.
- Failing to report the water contamination to the National Department of Environment, for over two days.
- Failure to properly notify residents downstream of the contamination of the river, and fish in the river.
The contamination of the Nylrivier is now at crisis level, yet a geo-hydrologist has still not been deployed to the river.
The DA notes that certain municipal officials have been cited for internal discipline over the bungling of this sulphuric acid spill, but criminal sanction must follow for criminal negligence.
The DA will very closely monitor this situation, and will press for urgent action to protect this important river.