Tuemlo waga Dibakwane
Premier Refilwe Mtshweni has promised to take action in one of worst performing Mpumalanga municipalities, just a week after co-operative governance minister, Zweli Mkhize, visited to the province. Secunda’s eMbalenhle area and Leslie were visited over the weekend and it was found that people are living among sewer overflows as a result of abandoned and collapsing infrastructure. She said people cannot be expected to live in such conditions. Work to solve this problem should start this week as R50 million were set aside to fix the Gert Sibande district municipality’s problem and other affected municipalities.
It was reported last year that all of Mpumalanga’s waste water treatment plants were leaking and polluting fresh water sources and officials were doing nothing to attend to the problem. In a statement by Parliament’s Water and Sanitation Committee earlier this yea,r officials at Gert Sibande district municipality – the province’s worst municipality – were slammed for their “sluggish” response in attending to the collapsing waste water infrastructure.
Their sluggish response to the issue were found to cause raw sewer polluting wetlands and the Vaal River, a national river starting in the Ermelo and Standerton areas and supplying millions of Gauteng households. In 2015 AfriForum tested samples from the Vaal River water and results revealed that the amount of E. coli and faecal coliform bacteria exceeded 1000 units per 100ml.
Recently the Gert Sibande district municipality reportedly did tests on 45 water samples taken from Carolina, Nooitgedacht, Bettysgoed, Ekulindeni, Elukwatini and Fernie. Out of the 45 samples tested it was found that 23 have high levels of E-coli and faecal bacterial materials.
Mtshweni had previously raised this issue in the Mpumalanga legislature while she was co-operative governance MEC, after it was found that the province’s waste water treatment plants did not meet the department of water and sanitation’s standards of proper management of waste water infrastructure. She said then that the reason these waste water treatment plans were leaking like this and not meeting the standards, was because they did not have “maintenance plans”.