VAAL WATER POLLUTION: OUTA’S COMPLAINTS VINDICATED BY SAHRC REPORT
In March 2017, OUTA laid a complaint with the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) regarding failure by the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) to protect South Africa’s water resources. In September and November 2018 we followed this up with two submissions to the SAHRC inquiry into sewage pollution in the Vaal.
On 17 February the SAHRC released a damning report on the matter. Various respondents were given 60 days to provide plans on how to fix pollution in the river, one of the most important water sources in the country. The report also recommends disciplinary action and even dismissal of those government officials who failed to do their jobs to prevent the current crisis. Money lost to unauthorised, fruitless and wasteful/irregular expenditure must also be recouped from individuals.
South Africa is a water scarce country, and OUTA would like to see criminal prosecutions for those who failed to act on the pollution – only then will we see real change in the protection of this critical resource.
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