Gauteng and NW Province

Gauteng ‘ignoring water crisis’

MUSA MOHAMED

JOHANNESBURG – Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane  has been accused of turning a blind eye to violations of the province’s environmental laws.

She has been urged to intervene to avoid a full blown water pollution crisis in the province.

It is alleged that the premier is aware that more than  a dozen mining companies, both minor and major, are allegedly operating without valid water licences in the Gauteng province.

This has triggered fears of a worsening water pollution problem amid claims that Gauteng’s regulatory and licence enforcement systems are dysfunctional.

“The Premier is aware of the problem and I call on her to pressure the National Department of Water Affairs to take strong action in enforcing these water licences,” Thomas Walters the Democratic Alliance   MPL said yesterday.

Minister of Water Affairs Edna Molewa last week revealed in Parliament that 63 mining companies were operating without valid water licences, of which 13 are in Gauteng.

The Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development declined to comment, saying they had no mandate to speak on the matter.

Chamber of Mines environmental affairs spokesman Stephinah Mudau denied the chamber’s members were breaking the law and blamed bureaucratic tardiness for the debacle.

“There is a legacy that the department had been slow in dealing with backlogs in processing licences,” she said.

Mava Scott, water affairs spokesman, did not respond to e-mailed questions yesterday.

The Citizen Online

03 April 2012

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