On Freedom Day last year, the generator at the Goudkoppies Wastewater Treatment Works (WWTW) broke down, forcing sewage inflow to be rerouted to nearby Bushkoppies WWTW during power cuts.

Less than two weeks later, cable theft at Goudkoppies and still no generator, meant that all inflow was rerouted to Bushkoppies, which did not have the capacity to cope with the flow.

A year later, despite a directive from the Department of Water and Sanitation to the City of Johannesburg (COJ), Goudkoppies inflow is still rerouted to Bushkoppies, resulting in raw sewage still spilling into the Harringtonspruit, and from there flowing into the Klip River and ultimately the Vaal River. Both WWTWs are managed by the Joburg metro through its entity Johannesburg Water.

Inaction like this can and should not be tolerated, hence WaterCAN’s decision to lay charges. “Sewage pollution is a challenge across the country, and it is killing our river ecosystems. Water activists must explore similar charges against municipal managers who are failing in their duties. This must be the beginning of holding officials to account for years of dereliction of duty of care over our water resources,” says Dr Ferrial Adam, executive manager for WaterCAN. “South Africa is a water-scarce country, and such high levels of pollution are completely criminal. Polluting water is a violation of basic rights, including the right to health.” 

The full story can be found here.