Excrement flowing into Vaal River

James Farr

SASOLBURG. – Raw sewage incorporating human and pig excrement has been running unchecked into the Vaal due to two damaged pumps. This was reported by Ecoworld ranger Mr Alex de Koker who says the riverbanks are turning into an evil-smelling spectacle.

Mr De Koker is the spokesperson for 14 000 residents and farmers in the area of Groenpunt Prison toward Deneysville; he says there should have been four pumps there, not two.

He says also that a story that the two pumps have been repaired is the most blatant kind of false propoganda.

This denial was not confirmed by “green” body Save the Vaal Environment (SAVE) which was engaged with De Koker last week in the compilation of a report that involved wading into the river to take photographs and samples.

Protesters – including the Riverside Property Safety Association (RPSA) – have already mounted a petition that has garnered hundreds of signatures. These belong to people demanding rectification and relief from local government.

But the flow has continued unchecked for several months despite meetings by municipal and provincial authorities in conjunction with private groups.

A Groenpount Prison source says the municipal contractor was there on July 11, that Public Works had held a meeting on July 12 and that the two sewerage pumps had been replaced. De Koker says what was repaired were two prison boilers. Meanwhile SAVE has involved itself and may initiate legal action against Metsimaholo as it did last year against the council of the Emfuleni Local Municipality, ELM. Preparatory to this, De Koker in the company of a SAVE representative is going to wade into the excrement wearing special gumboots so samples and photographs can be taken.

RPSA chairman Coenie Nel – who is also a SAVE commitee member – says RPSA takes the crisis “very seriously”, adding that legal steps are likely “if no satisfactory action is taken”.

Mr Nel and Mr Du Toit of SAVE say relevant government authorities had “admitted” there was a problem and had taken steps to rectify it.

Nel said at about 13:00 last Friday, however, that as yet no rectification of the crisis had taken place.

Sedibeng enivironmentgal chief Mr Zies van Zyl was not available to answer a press enquiry and he is apparently the only Sedibeng source who can provide a statement.

* Metsimaholo spokesperson Gino Alberts reacted to enquiries with disbelief. “No way,” he said. “Metsimaholo would never allow such human endangerment. Some gross exaggeration is going on.” Mr Alberts said he was going to consult a technical manager on the issue.

News source: Vaalweekly