Mogale’s Silent Assassin
Borehole water test results confirm sewage leaks contaminate underground water around Pinehaven in Mogale. Resident Jan Brandt is fighting against official apathy as the disaster spreads.
“Following concerns raised by Mogale residents as to the quality of the water from their boreholes in the area close to the Pinehaven raw sewage pump stations where numerous spillages occurred, the DA claimed that this type of contamination is impossible. The DA went further and said that they will be testing water and take action if more residents come forward with complaints. https://krugersdorpnews.co.za/340326 – November 16, 2017. Despite the area being within Ward 39, a long time DA ward, the DA took no further action.
Three samples showing contaminated water were taken close to the Pinehaven pump station and close to the wetlands downstream from Pinehaven and the Steynsvlei dam.
The E coli and coliform levels in these samples were dangerously far outside the National Water specification limits, in fact the most probable number of coliforms for one sample is of the same order as those of the surface waters. If there were underground sources of contamination in the area, then SPL 1 and SPL 3 would have indicated it.
Secondly, it is unlikely that boreholes will be contaminated by one isolated spillage from the pump stations, except if the spilled raw sewage is allowed to flow into the boreholes. Seeing that as long ago as 2005 judgment was given against Mogale City Local Municipality (Case 2005/2412 -WLD) and a number of references on record where Mogale City reflected on the serious problems in the Muldersdrift area resulting from the lack of infrastructure, nobody in his right mind would buy the explanations offered by the DA.
As to the seven sample results on the surface water, without exception, these results speak for themselves. As we are dealing with an invisible entity, residents do not necessarily connect their ailments to water contamination, especially as they are conditioned to thinking around treated drinking water from sources such as Rand Water. What is not taken into account, is the contact with contaminated surface water, be it from drinking (also by animals), swimming, washing, laundering or irrigating crops with it.
For the DA and indeed Mogale City Local Municipality, in the north-west quadrant of the Witwatersrand, specifically the bigger Pinehaven node inclusive of Steynsvlei, Northvale and Heuningklip, kicking the can down the road, did not work and we have now run out of road.
Neither known nor appreciated, malfeasance, dysfunctionality, incompetence or some combination thereof, created the presence of a silent assassin. This invisible, but potentially deadly entity, in the form of life-threatening bacteria and pathogens, could well have and be generating huge costs for the community through infections, hospital and medical bills, immediate and long-term health problems and the diminution of property values.
In this process, the values enshrined in the South African Constitution have been ignored and nullified, including the right of community engagement and the right to a remedy. It is so sad that despite numerous studies and reports which adequately identified potential issues in the region and professionally recommended action, the problem was allowed to escalate to the life-threatening consequences now being faced.”