By James Letuka, DA MPL in the Free State Provincial Legislature:
The ANC-governed Metsimaholo Local Municipality is hell-bent on completing a pipeline that would pump raw sewerage from Refenkgotso into the Vaal Dam in a bid to alleviate pressure on the town’s overflowing sewerage plant.
The municipality is desperate to complete the pipeline after a poorly planned artificial reed bed project at the centre of Deneysville was met with opposition from the community.
It is evident that the municipality has little regard for the welfare of the communities of Refengkgotso, Deneysville and the environment. Emotions in the municipality are running high and the situation is extremely volatile.
During an oversight visit to the municipality last week, we were informed that municipal workers and contractors have taken to intimidating residents.
I have today written to COGTA MEC, Olly Mlamleli, requesting her to immediately intervene in the municipality and to put a stop the unethical and reckless pipeline project.
Wilfully pumping raw sewerage into a fresh water source is a criminal act prosecutable under the National Water Act (No 36 of 1998). The Vaal Dam is a critical fresh water source to South Africa’s economic heartland, Gauteng, and is of vital economic importance to many communities along the dam’s shoreline in the Free State.
Water is a Human Right. The municipality’s intention to pump raw sewerage into the Vaal Dam threatens water security, the environment and most importantly the health and wellbeing of every single person dependent on the dam’s water.
Should MEC Mlamleli fail to bring the project to a halt, and intervene in bringing the Metsimaholo sewerage plant within operation of acceptable norms and standards, the DA will not hesitate to bring criminal charges against all implicated public officials.