Kouga Municipality confident court case will be in its favour

In the light of the progess made to improve the KwaNomzamo Waste Water Treatment Works (KWWTW)  in Humansdorp, the Kouga Municipality says it  is confident the outcome of a court case against it will be in its favour.

This was said in response to an announcement earlier today, 26 August,  that the DA laid charges with the SAP against the Kouga Municipal Manager, Sydney Fadi, yesterday.  The charges, the DA says, are for failing to act against the dysfunctional plant that has resulted in potential health risks to the people of that area while polluting the surrounding environment.  In a press release the DA said criminal charges were laid in terms of National Water and Environmental Management Acts .

“We are aware of the charges,” the municipality says. “It is now for the investigative and judiciary systems to review what we have done to address the situation. We are confident the outcome will be in our favour.”

The Municpality provided some detail of progress that has been made to improve the KWWTW .  “The plight of residents in the informal settlements at KWWTW has been a priority project for the past two years and good progress has been made.

“Regular meetings have also been held with the affected community to ensure they know what is being planned for their area.

“The area was formalised last year to create a buffer zone between the community and the KWWTW. (This basically means that plots/erven were formally marked out and residents then moved to these plots. This is important as basic services can only be installed once plots have been marked out.) 

“As part of the formalisation, electricity was installed to the plots.   

“There are still some residents living in this buffer zone who could not be accommodated in the formalised area. These families have already been informed of Council’s intention to relocate them.

“The municipality will be acquiring a piece of farm land for this purpose. The process is already at an advanced stage and an item will be going to Council next week to finalise the acquisition of the land. Funding has already been secured and the procurement process completed for the fencing of the KWWTW. Work is scheduled to start next week. 

“Some of the residents farm with pigs, which contribute to the smell. The municipality has already met with the community to discuss relocating the pigs.    

“The municipality approached the Department of Land Reform and Rural Development two years ago regarding the upgrade of the KWWTW. The Department completed a feasibility study last year and has undertaken to upgrade the facility on behalf of the municipality

In its press release the DA also said the Humansdorp waste water treatment works “has been dysfunctional for months and the quality of the discharge into the natural resources below the property is questionable”. It further charges that “since December 2014 the DA has lodged various complaints to Kouga Municipality and the Provincial Department of Water Affairs about the poor conditions at the plant, the horrendous smells of the plant and the fact that people illegally live within 500 meters of the unit proving dangerous to their health.”

The DA further charges with, various details, that the plant is not fenced off, there is pollution and that people have to walk through contaminated water from sewerage.  It says it raised the matter with Kouga Municipality and the Department of Water Affairs again this year.

The DA says officials from the Department of Water Affairs inspected the plant at the end of May this year and took samples. The DA says the matter was also raised in parliament.

The DA said conditions have not improved at the Humansdorp plant since the DA’s initial complaint last year. “The last resort was to lay criminal charges as these conditions cannot continue”, the DA press release added.

Article by Bev Mortimer

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