Looming public health crisis as Rustenburg fails to address backlog of at least 475 blocked sewer complaints

Issued by Cllr Johan Cronje – DA Councillor: Rustenburg Local Municipality
26 Apr 2021 in Press Statements

Note to Editors: Please find the attached soundbite in English and Afrikaans by Cllr Johan Cronje, DA Councillor in Rustenburg Local Municipality.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) will follow up on charges against Rustenburg Local Municipality for failing to address the backlog of sewerage blocks which now threatens to create a public health crisis.

In September last year, the DA laid charges against Rustenburg Local Municipality for contravening Section 151(1)(I) and (j) and Section 19 of the National Water Act, Act 36 of 1998.

The DA has been monitoring the performance of the municipality’s Sanitation Unit. There are at least 475 sanitation complaints that were reflected on the call centre call sheet regarding the blocked sewerage spilling raw effluent onto streets and into the stormwater system which eventually pollutes the Dorpspruit and Hex river.

Upon enquiry, the Sanitation Unit informed us that the backlog is caused by insufficient resources. This is due to an alleged adjustment to the budget which stripped the Sanitation Unit of valuable resources.

During the Adjustment budget tabled on 30 March 2021, R30 million was allocated for infrastructure purposes relating to water reticulation and electricity. It is now alleged that none of this capital is being made available towards sanitation.

On two occasions now, the DA requested meetings with the MM giving him ten days in advance to prepare to meet us and on both occasions, the MM cancelled the meetings citing health issues or other commitments. We were set to meet with MM today, but the meeting was postponed yet again.

The municipality is in contravention of the National Water Management Act, the National Environmental Management Act, specifically Section 49(A)(1)(e) and (f), which states that unlawfully and intentionally or negligently commit any act or omission which detrimentally affects or is likely to detrimentally affect the environment, Section 24 of the Constitution and the Municipal Systems Act for failing to provide municipal services.

Further to following up on the charges, the DA will request our Provincial Spokesperson on Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (COGHSTA), Freddy Sonakile MPL, to write to COGHSTA MEC Mmoloki Cwaile, to visit the City of Rustenburg to experience first-hand the overwhelming stench of raw sewage that the municipality is failing to address.