Sewage has been running into the Vaal River for years, but the problem grew worse this year after the cash-strapped local municipality was unable to perform maintenance and infrastructure upgrades. Why do they not employ responsible officials to do the work? Unbelievable and a risk of lives. National Defence is helping – see their shocking video materials.
Moenie vis vang of eet van riviere wat die Vaaldam voed nie. Hier is heelwat bewyse dat daar vir etlike jare, dekades, geen onderhoud gedoen word op hierdie riool netwerke en pypleidings wat in die niet in verdwyn en dit weggevoer word in riviere en veral die Vaaldam wat miljoene bewoners in Suid-Afrika van water voorsien. Hoe veilig is hierdie situasie en hoe word mense en diere nie geaffekteer deur die gebrek aan belangstelling waar amptenare nie hulle werk verrig nie. Daar word heelwat belastings ge-in, maar word nie vir die herstel van riool en ander netwerke aangewend nie. Waar is die betrokke raadslede, ministers en selfs ouditeure wat dit nie optel nie?
THE NATIONAL DEFENCE DEPLOYED
It was reported on 12 November in the media that the South African National Defence (SANDF) is preparing to deploy technical teams to restore infrastructure at the polluted Vaal River system, and has warned criminals that troops will protect its equipment.
Initial assessments have been done and members of the army are expected to visit the area again on November 18.
This comes after the announcement by finance minister Tito Mboweni during his medium-term budget policy speech in October that the military had been called on to assist with engineering and other expertise to resolve the crisis in the Vaal River system.
Raw sewage has been flowing into the river from pump stations in the Emfuleni Municipality on the northern bank of the river, posing environmental and health risks. Communities affected by the pollution include Vereeniging‚ Sebokeng‚ Boipatong and Sharpeville.
Major General TT Xundu told TimesLIVE that a conceptual assessment was done at the Vaal River a week after the announcement by Mboweni.
“We found that the plants and substations are dysfunctional and not working.
“There are leakages and pipes that are burst, and all those things are threatening the welfare of the people,” Xundu said.
He said following the conceptual assessment, a technical assessment was conducted with the municipality.
“We are going to look at our limited engineering capabilities and see what we can do assist, in particular the substations and the plants.”
Xundu said the army would not allow its work to be impeded by thieves.
“All of that area will be declared a military zone, so that the military can move in and secure the area, and make sure that the equipment that is going to be used there is not going to be stolen or vandalised.”
In September, the South African Human Rights Commission conducted a site inspection of the Vaal River following allegations of approximately 150 megalitres of raw sewage spilling into the river daily. It stated: “The site inspection has revealed a prima facie violation of the rights of access to clean water, clean environment and human dignity.” The commission invited written submissions about the crisis to be sent to it by November 30.
Xundu said the project was expected to take a year.
“We are availing ourselves to cooperate with all the stakeholders that are there,” he said.
Maureen Stewart, vice-chairperson of Save the Vaal Environment (Save), confirmed army members have visited the Vaal. Their intention, she said, was “to bring in quite a number of troops to secure infrastructure, which is subject to theft and vandalism”.
Stewart said the army would also look at repairs and maintenance to stop sewage running into the river.
She said the non-government organisation welcomed the army’s involvement.
“We are happy to work with anybody who is going to solve the problem. Our aim is to see this river cleaned up and these problems resolved.”
19 DECEMBER 2018
The Vaal River Rehabilitation Project is underway. Over 400 members of the SANDF, including engineers, have been deployed to the area for at least the next year. eNCA’s Slindelo Masikane is there for an update on the story. Courtesy #DStv403
Technical teams from the South African National Defence Force have started the unenviable task of cleaning the contaminated Vaal River system in Gauteng. Over two hundred soldiers were deployed last week to help rehabilitate the system. This after urgent intervention by government. Raw sewage has been flowing into the river and residential areas from pump stations. People and animals lives remain at risk.
A manhole next to the R59 in Parys is overflowing with raw sewage which eventually ends up in the Vaal River.
According to Johan, who is also the chairperson of the SAVE Parys subcommittee, this is only the tip of the iceberg.
SAVE is an environmental action group that focusses on the pollution of the Vaal River. In 2010 the Parys subcommittee got an interdict against the Ngwathe municipality for the disposal of sub-standard and unprocessed sewage in the Vaal River, coming from the Parys sewage plant.
“The court gave the Ngwathe municipality 30 days to improve the situation. At that stage SAVE felt that 30 days were not enough and gave them more time. Unfortunately 30 days became six months and six months became one year. It is now two years and nothing has happened,” said Johan.