DA supports Moqhaka sewerage investigations

06 Sep 2021 in Press Statements

Note to Editors: Please find the attached soundbites in English and Afrikaans by Dr Roy Jankielsohn MPL, Leader of the Opposition in the Free State.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is working with law enforcement agencies regarding the environmental disaster at the Moqhaka waste water treatment (sewerage) plant at Kroonstad. The sewerage plant is totally dysfunctional which results in all the sewage generated from the 170 000 residents of Kroonstad and Maokeng flowing through fields and into the Vals River.

Besides the pollution at the sewerage plant, there is also sewage overflowing into the yards of residents, flowing down the streets and polluting public spaces.

The Vals River is a tributary of the Vaal River, which is in turn a tributary of the Orange River. As a tributary of the Orange River, the constant and large scale pollution into Vaal River poses an environmental hazard for all water users downstream. Besides the local environmental implications of this pollution, it also affects neighbouring states in the region who share international rivers such as the Orange River with South Africa.

The sewage pollution infringes on the constitutionally guaranteed environmental rights of both residents of Kroonstad and Maokeng as well as others living downstream. The serious environmental hazard is also a violation of various environmental and water related legislation with serious penalties for offenders. In this respect, the current and previous officials who are responsible for the pollution must be held accountable. The sewerage works were renovated in 2016 and have subsequently been neglected and allowed to fall into disrepair.

The DA will continue to do regular oversight over this sewerage plant and assist with the prosecution of those responsible.