Raw untreated sewage is flowing directly into the Great Fish River near Cradock, placing the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people at risk, according to the DA.
“This is an environmental and economic catastrophe that poses a significant health risk to individuals,” the DA’s EC Midlands constituency leader Retief Odendaal said in a statement today.
Odendaal said he had conducted an oversight inspection at the Inxuba Yethemba Local Municipality’s wastewater treatment plant in Cradock on Tuesday June 11 and was shocked to find it completely shut down.
“Sewage continues to flow into the non-functional plant and then gets channelled, untreated, into the Great Fish River,” he said.
The discharge of raw sewage into a natural water resource is illegal in terms of the Constitution, the National Environmental Management Act No. 107 of 1998 and the National Water Act No. 36 of 1998.
Odendaal said most of the pumps and all the brush aerators were dysfunctional and the Chris Hani District Municipality, who is responsible for the treatment of wastewater in the Inxuba Yethemba Municipality, seemed to not have the finances and capacity to remedy the situation. Problems at the plant have been ongoing for years.
“The ongoing discharge of raw sewage into the river could result in the water becoming so contaminated that it will no longer be fit for use as an irrigation source for farmers, not to mention the massive health and environmental risk it could pose to local communities,” Odendaal said.
He has written to the Green Scorpions, urging them to immediately intervene and find a solution to the problem.
“This uncaring and irresponsible district municipality must be brought to book for endangering the livelihood and health of its residents,” he said.
Odendaal has also brought the matter to the attention of the shadow MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Vicky Knoetze MPL, and she will be requesting an intervention by the MEC for COGTA, Xolile Nqata.