Buckets of sewage

LEPHALALE — Members of the Ellisras AfriForum branch delivered buckets full of raw sewerage to the Lephalale Local Municipality last Thursday at around 14:00 to show them that the ongoing sewerage problem in the town needs to be taken seriously and sorted out. The AfriForum representatives refused to remove the sewerage out of the entrance to the municipality before someone in a position of authority received and signed for their official communication which included an action plan and copies of appropriate sewerage management and sewerage works licenses for Lephalale.
Jaco Grobbelaar, AfriForum’s provincial coordinator for Limpopo and Chris Boshoff, AfriForum’s Environmental Affairs coordinator accompanied members from the local branch to Pump Station 23 where raw sewerage was pumped into the Mogol River. They also referred to other areas in Lephalale town and Onverwacht where sewerage has been seeping out of manholes for weeks, as well as the area behind Kloppenheim flats behind Lephalale Mall where sewerage water is damming up next to the road.
They filled the buckets with the sewerage themselves and took it to the municipality.
According to municipal workers, members of the Executive Committee of the Lephalale Municipality were in a meeting and not available. After a while Charity Raditabe, acting municipal manager, as well as the mayor of Lephalale, Jack Maeko, met with the AfriForum representatives in the council chambers to come to an agreement. Raditabe received the communication on behalf of Edith Tukakgomo, Municipal Manager. During the meeting Grobbelaar explained that the current sewerage situation in town could lead to serious health risks for humans and animals and that it needed urgent attention. “It is the responsibility of the municipality towards the residents to step in immediately” he said. Boshoff further explained that Article 24 of the Constitution determines that all South African citizens have the right to an environment that does not damage their health or welfare. The municipality thus have a constitutional obligation to supply clean drinking water to the community and to repair the ecosystem.
Council member William Motlokwa, Lesibana Thobane, Manager Community Services and members of AfriForum Lephalale went to Pump Station 23 so that they could see for themselves what a perilous state the river and the pump station are in. Coincidentally just before they visited the station another whole load of raw sewerage had been pumped into the river.
The Municipality came to an agreement with AfriForum that within the next two weeks a plan of action to resolve the sewerage problem in Lephalale would be in place.
Grobbelaar told Mogol Post that he hopes for good cooperation from the Lephalale Municipality so that the problems in Lephalale can be tackled and resolved together.
By Friday morning municipal workers were busy at Pump Station 23 from early on. On inquiry, they said that they had an instruction to remove the yellow pipe that pumps raw sewerage directly from the pump station into the Mogol River. On the morning of Monday 31 July information was received that the pump at Pump Station 23 was repaired and working.
AfriForum announced on Monday 31 July that Lephalale’s drinking water did not meet the requirements to get blue drop status due to the presence of E. coli. The presence of E. coli in water is a strong indication of recent sewage or animal waste contamination. Sewage may contain many types of disease-causing organisms.
AfriForum confirmed that they will watch and monitor the situation.

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