South Africa: Eastern Cape Municipalities Pump Raw Sewage Into Waterways

Municipalities are behind the contamination of freshwater sources, admits the provincial Cogta, with the DA accusing the provincial government of failure to hold local entities to account.

Eastern Cape municipalities are discharging raw sewage into rivers, contaminating freshwater sources, endangering health, and affecting animal and plant life.

In response to written questions from Democratic Alliance MPL Vicky Knoetze, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) MEC Xolile Nqatha revealed sewage contamination of water sources was widespread in the province.

Nqatha revealed that 31 pump stations, collector systems and wastewater treatment works (WWTW) had been issued with notices and directives for non-compliance by the National Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS).

Asked by Knoetze if the department had been monitoring these notices, Nqatha admitted it has not been doing so but that Cogta would monitor selected municipalities through its Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (MISA).

In accordance with the Division of Revenue Act, when the municipality fails to comply or fix something, national Cogta has a right to stop the funds and relocate them.

“Since the 2020/2021 to 2021/2022 financial year, the department has issued 30 notices on intention to issue directives. Only four have been satisfactorily resolved; others have recurring problems or…

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