Whose sewage is in the Vaal river?

According to EWN the City of Johannesburg, as well as the surrounding municipalities, have denied that they are to blame for the raw sewage in the Vaal river.

Philip Molekoa of the South African Human Rights Commission has in fact said that nobody has claimed responsibility for the contamination.

News24 reported earlier this week that Sasol had also denied responsibility, but had admitted to having trouble understanding regulations regarding the discharge of waste.

Consequently three of its waste incinerators were shut down for failing to comply with regulations.

The army says that the damage the pollution has done to the Vaal will take at least a year to fix according to Times LIVE.

According to the Times LIVE, the raw sewage was flowing into the river from pump stations in the Emfuleni Municipality.

Emfuleni is the same municipality that was in such a bad financial condition that it was struggling to pay its staff and had its fire engines repossessed by Bidvest. A few months ago Eskom was threatening to cut them off for not paying their electric bill according to EWN.

The Vaal river is not the only place where this has happened. Hartbeespoort dam suffered from massive pollution for years, with the Kormorant reporting that a massive sewage spill had caused a mass fish die off in 2016.

Pollution was still a problem in the dam in 2018 when the minister of water and sanitation visited the area according to Tourism Update.

In 2017, the Mail & Guardian reported that out of South Africa’s 800 wastewater treatment plants, 60 discharge clean water.

My Take

I would argue that this all shows the insanity of making our water sanitation a municipal function.

The impact of a municipality like Emfuleni going under is felt across the entire province, and we don’t have the water to spare for this.

I would argue that, except a lot of this mess has been caused by ANC corruption, and who runs our country on a provincial level? The ANC.

It isn’t clear that bumping this issue up to the province wouldn’t just result in worse performance.

The ANC led Gauteng government couldn’t even keep their own offices nice. Corruption is one thing, but being so corrupt your own office is a death trap? I’m not entirely sure they’re capable of running anything.

And the national team doesn’t look much better. I think a big chunk of what we need to do here is remember stories like this when we next vote, because this situation the ANC has got us in right now? It stinks.


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