SASOLBURG. – Controversy around the alleged polluting of the Riemland Ecopark is flawed.
So says Gino Alberts, spokesperson for the Council of the Metsimaholo Local Municipality.
Mr Alberts says the most vital pump of the sewerage network had fallen afoul of criminal activity earlier this year. The pump and essential cables were stolen and the place has been closed to the public since then. Its closure is not a recent development.
The pump and cables “were replaced but we haven’t wanted the ecopark to open since that time because we are waiting for the rain,” says Alberts.
Alberts says spillage went “all over the place” and posed such a health hazard that the park could not be opened until rains had thoroughly cleaned out the area.
“Opening now would mean exposing our people to contamination and we’re a very responsible municipality that has the safety of our poeple at heart,” he says.
This follows news that municipal sewage from Metsimaholo had closed the Riemland Ecopark on Heritage Day, September 24.
A big billboard apologising to the public said the facility was closed due to a municipal overflow of sewage.
Local photographer and bird-fancier Roelof Coertze says: “I became really angry because on April 17 municipal sewage also overflowed from the pumps in the ecopark into the small streams through the Abrahamsrust picnic spot and into the Vaal River.”
Mr Coertze – according to Alberts – was probably referring to the period from when the facility has been closed.
The Riemland Ecopark is north of Sasolburg in the Free State and west of Vaalpark, about 80 km south of Johannesburg.
Coertze believes the sewage is flowing into the nature reserve,placing animals and birds at ongoing risk.
“The sewage is also running into the Vaal River at Vanderbijlpark,” says Coertze, “running to Parys and other downstream towns where people have to drink it.”
News source : Mooivaal Media – Vaalweekblad