Yesterday the Democratic Alliance laid criminal charges with the South African Police Service against the Kouga municipal manager, Mr Sydney Fadi, for failing to act against the dysfunction of the Humansdorp Waste Water Treatment plant.
This plant has caused health risks to the people of Humansdorp, whilst polluting the surrounding environment.
Criminal charges have been laid in terms of National Water Act 36 of 1998 as well as the contravention of the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) 1998.
The Humansdorp waste water treatment works has been dysfunctional for months and there has been discharge into the natural resources below the property.
“Since December, 2014 the DA has lodged various complaints to the Kouga Municipality and the Provincial Department of Water Affairs about the poor conditions at the plant, the horrendous smell of a dysfunctional plant and the fact that people are illegally living within 500 meters of the unit which is dangerous to their health,” said Elza Van Lingen the leader of the DA in Kouga.
“The plant is not fenced off with cause for negligent liability as prescribed in law. There is also pollution caused by the discharge of water below the plant right into an earth dam. The DA understands that the Department of Water Affairs has since issued a Certificate of Noncompliance to Kouga Municipality,” added Van Lingen.
The plant is situated outside Humansdorp on the R330, directly adjacent to Polla Park, Shukushukuma (KwaNozamo) and Vergenoegd, where residents directly experience the consequences of poor management by Kouga Municipality.
The access road to Vergenoegd from the R330 runs directly below the plant and the discharge from the plant runs along the side of the road, not always through the culvert to the dam.
This has hampered pedestrian traffic – as they have to pass through sewer contaminated pools or a long detour through KwaNomzamo.
“In April 2015, the matter was again raised with Kouga Municipality and the Department of Water Affairs. Officials from the Department of Water Affairs inspected the plant at the end of May this year.
This included taking samples of water in the plant as well as discharge in various places, to test and analyse it for a complete laboratory and compliance report. It has been relayed to us that the Department addressed the problems at the plant with Kouga Municipality. The DA has requested this report,” said Van Lingen.
“Considering, conditions have not improved at the Humansdorp plant since the DA’s initial complaint in December 2014, we have sent another letter of complaint to the municipal manager Mr Fadi for attention earlier this week.
The DA has addressed the matter at local government level, we raised it with the provincial department of water affairs and we asked questions in parliament.
The issue was also raised in the portfolio committee for water and sanitation in National Parliament. It is clear that we have exhausted all possible options to rectify the situation. The last resort was to lay criminal charges as these conditions cannot continue.
The DA will also not sit idly as our communities and environment are being polluted – threatening the health of our people” concluded Van Lingen.