Department of Water and Sanitation must urgently tackle Sedibeng Regional sewer scheme challenges

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The Democratic Alliance (DA) notes with concern the re-appointment of the Department of Water Affairs and Sanitation as the implementing agent for the Sedibeng Regional Sewer Scheme.

The Department was previously appointed to oversee these projects and there was little visible progress.

The pollution of the Vaal Dam, Vaal River and various tributaries cannot continue if we are to safeguard our potable water supplies for Gauteng, the Free State and Lesotho.

The sewer spillages, particularly in the Emfuleni Local Municipality’s area of jurisdiction, have become disastrous, with many pump stations being more offline than on, and the Waste Water Treatment Plants, still undergoing upgrades, being under-capacity as the sewage does not reach them as a result of the failing pump stations.

Pools and rivers of sewage are a daily occurrence with some having become permanent features.

In areas of Vereeniging, some residents who have sewer lines running through the back of their properties, have despaired from the constant flow of sewage into their properties, and have dug trenches to channel the sewage onto the road, which poses a health risk, and also causes potholes and general degradation of the road surface.

The DA is also concerned with the political connections that the Rand Water CEO, Sipho Mosai, has to the Sedibeng District Municipality. There is a massive conflict of interest as the appointment of sub-contractors and local labour was done under a cloud of suspicion with local community members believing that to be employed or to receive a contract requires an ANC membership card.

Mosai’s wife, Andiswa Mosai, was also the Speaker of Sedibeng District Municipality until November 2021 and remains a councillor in the ANC caucus.

For years now, the DA has been demanding action on the Sedibeng Regional Sewer Scheme, putting pressure on the Emfuleni Council, Sedibeng District, with the various Ministers responsible for Water and Sanitation, including Minister Nomvula Mokonyane, Lindiwe Sisulu and now Minister Senzo Mchunu. We also challenged the Deputy President and the President himself on the issue.

The DA in the Vaal Region now calls on the Department of Water and Sanitation as well as Rand Water to tackle this massive problem with urgency and with the best sub-contractors and workers, regardless of their affiliation, and to spend every cent allocated to this project to ensure prompt and effective improvements to the sewer network.