TO: Joburg Water
Department of Water Affairs
The apparent inability of two water authorities - Joburg Water and the Department of Water Affairs - to responsibly and competently manage key water resources is doing lasting damage to our country and its people. We cannot stay silent as one of Gauteng’s premier waterways - the Jukskei-Crocodile system - is being destroyed by what appears to be negligence and incompetence. The Northern Wastewater Treatment Works, one of the largest in the country that once proudly boasted Green Drop status, continues week after week, month after month, to pump sewage into this river system. We will not allow this to continue.
This petition is the opening salvo in a fight for responsible management of precious water resources. This, on the day Rand Water announced the possibility of restricting water flow to municipalities because of the drought this region is facing.
Please receive the petition below, with the list of over 400 people affected by the negligence of Northern Wastewater Purification Works (see attachment 1). The evidence is not only in the sight and smell of all those along the banks of these rivers. It is clearly visible from the air (see pictures – attachments 2 and 3).
Some comments from individual signatories (see more in the petition list) underline the seriousness of what we will not allow to continue:
Piers Pirow, senior scientist, NECSA: Our analysis of the river shows a large increase in various sewage-related and other pollutants in the Crocodile River area well above various limits. There is also a significantly strong odour and a change of colour most likely also from the same sewage related pollutants. Maco- chemical, bacterial, biomonitoring , radiological and organic results and reports are available from Necsa.
Dave Muller, Hills and Dales: The pollution affects everyone. This river flows through Diepsloot and is the drinking water for cattle, is used to wash clothes, to baptize people and to grow vegetables. It is totally unfit for anyone or anything to come into contact with it.
Judith Taylor, Earthlife Africa: The pollution of our rivers and catchments by badly maintained or failed sewage works is compromising our access to clean water. Furthermore, the possibility of diseases such as dysentery and cholera in impoverished communities is a real threat.
Pieter Horn, Hills and Dales: We must ensure Joburg Water takes legal responsibility for damages to the environment as well as for potential illnesses, both human and animal, that may result from these spillages due to their gross neglect.
This petition is also copied to the following:
City of Johannesburg: The Executive Mayor and City Manager
Department of Environmental Affairs
The Green Scorpions (by way of official complaint)
Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development
City of Tshwane
Mogale City: Integrated Environmental Management
Water Affairs Commission
Human Rights Commission
Parliament, through public representatives
NGOs and related organisations
Jukskei River Catchment Area Management Forum
Centre for Environmental Rights
Legal Resources Centre
Federation for a Sustainable Environment
Magaliesberg Biosphere NPC
Just Environmental Action
Wildlife and Environment Society of SA
National Association of Conservancies and Stewardship of SA
Gauteng Conservancy and Stewardship Association
North West Conservancies and Stewardship Association
Rhenosterspruit Nature Conservancy
Harties Tourism Association
Prof Antony Turton, University of Free State
15 media organisations
Various Facebook pages