By James Letuka, DA MPL in the Free State Provincial Legislature:
The DA today opened criminal charges under the national Water Act (No36 of 1998), Section 151 (i), against the Metsimaholo Municipal Manager, Steve Molala, for failing to comply with the provisions of the Act which includes, but is not limited to, the effective management and treatment of sewerage and waste water, and the protection of fresh water resources.
The community of Refengkgotso have to endure living in a sewerage filled environment. Their houses are flooded with sewerage and the stench is unbearable. This poses a severe health risk to residents, especially children and cattle. Moreover, the community’s cemetery is also overflown with raw sewerage.
The Refengkgotso Sewerage Treatment Plant does not have the capacity to process Deneysville’s sewerage treatment needs and is the cause of this massive and regular sewerage spill.
In May this year we requested the Municipal Manager to take corrective measures at the sewerage plant which regularly overflows affecting nearby farms and communities. He has not taken any positive steps to rectify the situation despite receiving R9 million from the National Department of Water Affairs to upgrade the plant.
Instead the municipality opted to construct a pipeline from the plant directly into the Vaal Dam. Thankfully through our efforts, construction has been halted since the municipality failed to obtain the required permits.
At night, in order to alleviate the pressure on the sewerage plant, the municipality activates a pump station that pumps sewerage into an open veld that leads to the Taaibos Stream. This raw sewerage ultimately flows into the Vaal River.
There are several areas where raw sewerage eventually seep into the Vaal Dam polluting this critically important fresh water resource.
The Vaal Dam is of vital economic importance to many communities along its shoreline, especially that of Deneysville, and raw sewerage seeping into the Vaal Dam threatens Gauteng’s water security, the environment and most importantly the health and wellbeing of every single person dependent on the dam’s water.
We hope that our action today, in bringing criminal charges against the Municipal Manager, will motivate him into positive and construction action.