AfriForum tested the drinking water (blue drop) in 220 towns and the treated sewage (green drop) of 118 sewage treatment plants in 2020 as part of the organisation’s annual blue and green drop project. The results of this report indicate that a lot of municipalities still disregard Section 24 of the Constitution – which ensures a healthy environment for South Africans.
According to the report, the drinking water of five towns (Boshof, Brits, Delareyville, Sannieshof and Stella) and 90 sewage systems didn’t comply with the national standards. After AfriForum informed the municipalities of these five towns thereof, follow-up water tests indicated that the water is once again suitable for human consumption. It is a noticeable indication of the poor service delivery by the government and municipal officials, especially with regards to sewage treatment plants.
The project was this year much more important than before due to the COVID-19 pandemic and research indicating that the illness can be traced from sewage systems, which means that one can identify focus points.
“Communities must insist on their right to access clean, running water and in future hold the respective municipalities responsible by regularly monitoring the quality of drinking and sewage water. The blue drop status of the towns that didn’t comply with the standards is worrying seeing as four of these towns also didn’t comply with the set standards last year.
“The green drop results are even more worrying – especially with regards to poor sewage management – and it is an indication of further decline of South Africa’s infrastructure. A shortage of competent personnel to manage the infrastructure and the flawed maintenance of plants are also worrying,” says Lambert de Klerk, AfriForum’s Manager of Environmental Affairs.
Altogether 90 of 118 sewage treatment plants that were tested in 2020 do not comply with the set standards and there is still a problem with the management of sewage treatment plants. “It is a big source of concern that so many plants are dumping sewage into our rivers. It is also remarkable that access was denied at plants, and that no water was flowing from the outlet at certain plants.”
“The government is not serious about the health of South Africans. This is quite clear when considering the fact that the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) is bankrupt and facing a parliamentary investigation regarding maladministration. The last official Blue and Green Drop Report was published in 2012. The ANC government attempts to hide its incompetence by keeping information from the public and even parliament while normal people are suffering from this water crisis daily. We can no longer trust the state to supply water that is safe and that is why we test the water quality ourselves,” says De Klerk.
As the custodian of water, the DWS is not fulfilling its obligations by applying legislation when municipal authorities are the guilty party.
Is the water in your town clean? SMS the name of your town to 45354 (R1) and give AfriForum the mandate to test the water quality of your town.
* A complete list of towns that were tested during the blue and green drop project is available in the official report. Click here: https://afriforum.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Blou-en-groen_2020_Engels.pdf
Issued by AfriForum