The Human Rights Commission is making a stink about raw sewage in the Vaal River


This week, the South African Human Rights Commission has released the final report on their inquisition into allegations that raw sewage from the Emfuleni Local Municipality been leaking into and polluting the Vaal River and the Rietspruit.

In their latest report into the Vaal River Sewage crisis, the SAHRC made recommendations. One of which being that the Emfuleni Local Municipality be put under national administration. This following damning findings against municipal officers. It would seem that accountability and consequence management are lacking. Untreated sewage enters the Vaal River due to dilapidated and inoperative wastewater treatment plants.  

The fundamental human rights to have access to safe drinking water is being denied by their inaptness.

The SAHRC has recommended a short term solution: “DWS or Gauteng COGTA, together with experienced wastewater management specialists, and respective Treasury Departments draw up a cost-effective interim plan to urgently stop or limit the flow of sewage in the streets and homes of people living in the Emfuleni area
and also into the Vaal,” reads the report.

However, a long-term plan needs to be put be in place by national and provincial governments. It will involve conducting a detailed needs assessment for the clean-up and rehabilitation of the Vaal.

Polluted “beyond acceptable standards”, some agree that this constitutes a Human Rights Violation.

It is clear that the Emfuleni Local Municipality has failed in its mandate which led to the environmental crisis.


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