Pollution in the Vaal River is reaching alarming proportions. Of particular concern is pollution from sewerage works, from informal settlements and from industry. Pollution is leading to staggering e-coli counts at some sampling points in the Vaal River. Visit the Rand Water website www.reservoir.co.za to obtain further information.
SAVE is taking action against this ongoing problem and has appointed an eminent environmental lawyer to act on behalf of the organization. His appointment and proposed strategy was approved at the SAVE AGM in June 2013.
To date, several letters have been sent to the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs (acknowledged by the secretaries) expressing SAVE’s concerns about the deteriorating condition of the quality of water in the Vaal River system, in particular, the river below the Vaal Dam wall. Concerns were also expressed about certain aspects of the National Water Resource Strategy 2, including passing responsibility for sanitation to the Department of Human Settlements and the devolution of responsibility for waterworks to local councils.
SAVE has called for information relating to waste water treatment plants, their location, reports on their function, water quality reports and details of any action taken by the Department to compel compliance with the law.
This process is necessary to gain a wide range of statistics, including those which are not generally available to the public and which will provide the factual information required in a court case to take the Minister and Department of Water and Environmental Affairs to task on water quality in the Vaal River System.
The Minister has not yet reacted and a notice under the Promotion of Access to Information Act has been served on the Information Officer in the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs.
SAVE will take Court action compelling the Minister to supply the requested information under the provisions of the Promotion of Access to Information Act if no response is received within the time period allowed.
SAVE continues to follow up the Emfuleni Council regarding its concerns about water quality and has received unsatisfactory responses. A meeting has been scheduled with the Emfuleni Municipal Manager.