Despite refuse skips and bins, squatters near the Crocodile River mine use the irrigation canal as a refuse dump.
The situation is shocking. During a visit to the area last week, the Kormorant found the refuse bins empty and the canal filled with anything from nappies to orange peels. Toilets have been erected on the bank of the canal with raw sewage seeping into the water. The canal is also used to do washing.
“No one is doing anything. This canal is our lifeline, we need it for irrigation but it is so polluted that soon it will be a cesspit only”, said an outraged farmer who irrigates from the canal.
The issue has been a bone of contention for the past few years.
“More than a year ago we convened a meeting with the Madibeng municipality, the Crocodile River mine and the water affairs department at the canal to demonstrate the seriousness of the situation. Of course a lot of promises were made by all the role players but nothing has been done,” said Nic Fourie from the Hartbeespoort Irrigation Board.
“In July this year the board cleaned the canal but the squatters just continue polluting it,” he said.
“The informal settlement is situated on land owned by Mr J Goosen. Barplats Mines is not the owner, and do not promote informal tenure practises,” said mine spokesperson Zelda le Roux.
“Tenants of this settlement are employed by various farmers, contractors and businesses around the area.”
Fourie said the landowner can be prosecuted under the water act for the pollution. “However, the water affairs department is in charge of the canal and it should be done by them.”
The Kormorant is waiting for the water affairs department’s response to the situation.
kormorant 8 November to 14 november 2012
I sometimes feel like I want to join some of the water & sanitation protests, but then again how do you educate people to take care of water? Without it there can be no life! Our rivers and dams are so polluted already, we cannot afford to continue regardless without consequences. It is indeed a sad state of water affairs.