Municipalities to blame for 'contamination of Vaal River system' - Parliament

A lack of maintenance in sewage infrastructure by municipalities is to blame for contamination into the Vaal River system, Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation said on Sunday.

"The Sedibeng District and Emfuleni Local Municipalities [are] at the centre of crumbling current infrastructure leading to contamination of the Vaal River system," committee chairperson Mlungisi Johnson said in a statement.

"The committee visited the municipality and the Sebokeng Waste Water Treatment Plant and found that some of the units were not functional, leading to overloading of the remaining units."

He said maintenance was needed or else consequences like spillage into the rivers would ensue.

"While the committee supports the building of new units, it has emphasised that the old units must be maintained to ensure optimal utilisation of the entire plant."

Negative consequences

It also called on government to use technological developments in the sector to find ways to reduce infrastructure development.

Furthermore, the committee expressed concern over delays in implementing the Sebokeng Regional Sewer Scheme.

"Besides the obvious cost overruns associated with increasing building cost of materials, the other negative consequence is to small medium enterprises that would have benefitted from the contract."

In addition, costs for purifying contaminated water were now added to the municipality’s bills.

"The committee has resolved that it will get monthly reports on interventions by all spheres of government in resolving the problem."