Sisulu takes over Emfuleni water ops amid Vaal pollution crisis
Human settlements, water and sanitation minister Lindiwe Sisulu is taking over the water infrastructure of the Emfuleni local municipality on the Vaal river.
Her move follows a SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) report into the state of wastewater treatment sparked by reports of raw sewage flowing into the Vaal and affecting the drinking water of nearly half of Gauteng’s population.
The SAHRC gave various parties 60 days to respond after it found that the continued flow of raw sewage into the Vaal, homes and public areas in the Emfuleni municipality was a violation of human rights.
Sisulu said she met co-operative governance minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma on Friday to brief her on her department's decision to take over Emfuleni's infrastructure.
“We are happy that we and the SAHRC are in agreement that [this] is the only solution to the problem,” she said.
Sisulu said her department was preparing the required memorandum to get cabinet approval for the takeover.
This week, Gauteng human settlements, urban planning and co-operative governance spokesperson Castro Ngobese said action is being taken to address the Vaal river pollution.
He said MEC Lebogang Maile had noted the SAHRC report and will formulate a detailed and comprehensive response for consideration by Gauteng’s executive council.
Ngobese said last week Maile had requiring the provincial government to impose a recovery plan for Emfuleni, a move which could lead to the municipality's dissolution.
Sisulu's department has provided Emfuleni with eight sewer-unblocking trucks at a cost of R14m, and it plans to spend R8m on civil, electrical and mechanical services and R50m on unblocking sewer bulk lines.
Another R53m has been set aside to restore weekly waste collections in the municipality. Gauteng's department of agriculture and rural development is procuring trucks on Emfuleni's behalf.
Ngobese said a further R40m has been set aside for cleansing, the replacement of old and faulty smart meters, installation of meters in unmetered areas, repair of damaged meter boxes and the removal of illegal connections.
The SAHRC recommended to the cabinet that it seriously consider national government intervention in Emfuleni.