Court orders North West municipality to stop polluting rivers
A five-year battle between a North West municipality and the department of water & sanitation has ended in victory for the department.
Over the years, the department had been at loggerheads with the Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati District municipality over pollution of rivers in the area.
Last week, the high court in Mahikeng ordered the municipality to take all necessary steps to ensure that raw sewage is not discharged into the ponds within Rosendal Farm in Vryburg, causing the deaths of livestock.
The department says as a regulator of the sector it is satisfied with the measures taken to make the municipality accountable and hopes the order and interdict will put a stop to pollution.
Judge Tebogo Djadje ordered the municipality to immediately cease diverting the flow of raw sewage from Huhudi Township into Farm Rosendal 673.
Also, the municipality was ordered to urgently take remedial steps to stop the pollution by immediately fixing the overflowing manholes in Huhudi Township. The municipality is also required to remedy the effects of pollution caused and rehabilitate the affected areas.
Djadje also interdicted the municipality from allowing raw sewage to overflow into Harts River and the Blespruit tributary.
The department said the court outcome is a result of stretched efforts by the department for the municipality to take responsibility for the pollution experienced in the area of their jurisdiction dating back to 2015.
The department, through its enforcement unit conducted investigations at the Vryburg Waste Water Treatment Works in 2015, with follow-up inspections in 2017 and 2018. The municipality did not respond with any action plans as required.
Then-minister Gugile Nkwinti also visited the area and held meetings with the MEC responsible for Cogta and the local mayor but that exercise also proved futile as the situation remained unresolved.
Spokesperson for the department Sputnik Ratau says the department will work with the municipality towards the resolution of the matter and assist it where necessary.
“This judgment should send a strong message to all the polluters that the department will not tolerate any form of pollution of water resources. The DWS will take all the necessary steps to put a stop to this neglect as empowered by the National Water Act. Our interventions are not punitive but when polluters are not responsive, we will seek recourse in our courts”, Ratau said.
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