By: Dirk Lotriet, News24
Bloemfontein - A project which will pump raw sewerage into the Vaal Dam is in an advanced stage, James Letuka, a DA member of the Free State provincial legislature, told News24.
After receiving a complaint from local councillors, Letuka visited Deneysville and saw the pipes being laid.
The pipes lead directly from the sewerage system to the dam.
“I saw it with my own eyes. The people working on the pipeline were very busy and I could see they were hurrying to get the job done. This is unacceptable,” Letuka said.
The project, undertaken by the Metsimaholo Local Municipality, which includes Sasolburg, Deneysville, Oranjeville and Viljoensdrift, is apparently aimed at alleviating the pressure on the town’s sewerage plant.
A planned artificial reed bed project at the centre of Deneysville was recently canned after it was met by opposition from the community.
“The Vaal is a source of water not only for the people in that area, but also for large parts of Gauteng,” said Letuka.
He said the sewerage project suggested the municipality had little regard for the environment and the welfare of local communities.
“We want to stop this project. The area where the pipes are leading is a recreational area with a caravan park. This pipeline will have serious repercussions. Not only will the plant and birdlife be affected, but it will also be a serious health hazard.”
Letuka has written to MEC Olly Mlamleli, requesting her to immediately intervene and put a stop the project.
“Willfully pumping raw sewerage into a fresh water source is a criminal act prosecutable under the National Water Act. The Vaal Dam is a critical fresh water source for South Africa’s economic heartland and is of vital importance to many communities along the dam’s shoreline in the Free State.
“Access to water is a human right. The municipality’s intention to pump raw sewerage into the Vaal Dam threatens water security, the environment and most importantly the health and well-being of every single person dependent on the dam’s water.”
Several calls to the Metsimaholo Local Municipality in Sasolburg went unanswered.