DA hounding tardy officials about Swartkops pollution

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS: Alarming pollution levels have been recorded in the NMBM's flagship Swartkops estuary
UNANSWERED QUESTIONS: Alarming pollution levels have been recorded in the NMBM’s flagship Swartkops estuary

THE Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality has formulated “rules of order” that endeavour to create an opportunity for political parties and members of council to air their views on important matters of public importance and to effectively play their oversight role.

Rule 24 gives me the right to submit, in writing, questions to the speaker at least 10 business days before a standing committee or council meeting, and receive the answers at this meeting.

Already on March 17 I submitted questions for answering at the public health standing committee to take place on April 11. I was very disappointed that my questions did not even appear on the agenda as they should! Secondly, some of my questions that were supposed to be answered by infrastructure and engineering were not answered. And up to date I have still not received these answers!

Your readers are aware of the alarmingly high pollution levels in our Swartkops River estuary that needs to be addressed urgently. As we have heard we cannot even eat the fish we catch there any more! And it seems that the Redhouse River mile will never ever again return to its rightful place!

My questions were regarding which companies were issued with warnings or fines for dumping their toxic waste into our beautiful river and whether the measures the metro currently have in place to deter companies from dumping illegally are working or not.

The public health committee resolved at its meeting on February 11 that a comprehensive report in respect of the pollution of the Swartkops, Chatty and Baakens Rivers and the strategy to deal with this matter be submitted at the meeting of April 11 April. The further resolution was that the acting executive director: infrastructure and engineering be present at that meeting to provide clarities where necessary. But no-one even pitched!

However, the rules of order also state if the responsible person has not furnished a reply to the questions within three working days after the meeting, there must be an oral reply at the next meeting. I am waiting with bated breath for our next public health standing committee meeting scheduled for June 10!!

The lack of response from the relevant senior officials is undermining my role as a councillor. It is our people’s right to know if officials are doing all they can to look after the health of all our communities. I give residents of this metro the assurance that I will not let this matter disappear unresolved.

DA Councillor Brenda Matthee

Member of the public health standing committee, NMBM

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