By Beyers Smit, (MP), DA Constituency Head for Mogalakwena:
Today, the DA has laid criminal charges against the acting municipal manager of Mogalakwena Municipality, Pule Selepe, for the municipality’s deliberate pollution of the Dorps River by cutting holes in the sewerage pipeline were it crosses over the river. The sewerage is pumped into the river system.
Mr Selepe now faces a criminal investigation after violating the National Water Act 36 of 1998 sections 151 (1)(i) and (2), the (NEMA) National Environmental Management Act 107 of 1998 sections 49 (A)(1)(e) and (f), section 24 of the constitution as well as a directive of the Municipal Finance Management Act.
The municipality also deliberately ignored continuous calls by the DA since 2010 to fix the sewerage system, causing great harm to the environment and a massive health risk to the residents of Mogalakwena living adjacent to the river.
It is clear that holes were cut at the top of the sewerage pipes so that it can overflow into the Dorps River when the system is overloaded and overflowing.
This caused significant environmental pollution and degradation while failing to take reasonable measures to address this crisis.
Penalties for environmental offences in terms of the NEMA range between R5 million or 5 year imprisonment and R10 million or 10 year imprisonment.
The DA commits to ensure that this individual as the accounting officer is held accountable and that maximum sanction be imposed by the court if found guilty.