Raw sewage is reportedly flowing into rivers in Elliot in the Eastern Cape which many use for water consumption, the Democratic Alliance reported on Wednesday.
DA MPL Yusuf Cassim said he reportedly found evidence of this following a visit to a wastewater treatment plant in the town. He has since pursued criminal charges against the Chris Hani District municipality manager, Bhekisisa Mthembu, who he said had to account.
“To my horror, not only was raw effluent flowing from numerous manhole covers into settlements and down the streets where children play, but the treatment works, which cost taxpayers in excess of R67m, had been vandalised and remains non-operational,” said Cassim.
“Worse, the municipality has deliberately dug multiple trenches to redirect the flow of raw untreated sewage into the Slangrivier, which runs into the Mbashe river, as a corrective measure. These trenches are blatantly illegal and a gross violation of basic human rights. People who live close to these rivers use the water for drinking,” he added.
Police spokesman Capt Khaya Thonjeni confirmed that a criminal case had been opened.
“I can confirm a case of water pollution has been opened… and is currently under investigation,” Thonjeni told TimesLIVE.
Other than this criminal charge, a complaint had been lodged with the SA Human Rights Commission, Cassim said.
The DA has laid similar charges against Mthembu before.
In July, the party pursued him for what they deemed “his inaction in addressing the contamination of the Great Fish River as a result of raw sewage flowing from the dysfunctional Cradock wastewater treatment works.”
Cassim said his failure to fix these problems had dire consequences for the affected communities.
“The failure to address the issue and allowing the community and the environment to continue to suffer as a result of governmental failure is unacceptable, and the DA will not stand for it,” he said.
“This collapsing ANC council, along with the officials, must be held fully accountable for their blatant disregard for the well-being of the people under their care.”
TimesLIVE could not immediately reach the Chris Hani municipality for comment.
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Article source: https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/south-africa/2019-10-17-da-wants-anc-ec-municipal-boss-criminally-charged-as-raw-sewage-flows-into-rivers/