Western Cape government takes City of Cape Town to task for Zeekoevlei sewage spill
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Cape Town - The Friends of Zeekoevlei and Rondevlei and the False Bay Nature Reserve Protected Areas Advisory Committee welcomed the pre-directive the provincial Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning has issued to the City for the pollution of Zeekoevlei.
The City has been given seven days to make representations as to why a directive in terms of Section 28 of the National Environmental Management Act (Nema), should not be issued.
Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC Anton Bredell said environmental management inspectors confirmed that significant pollution of the environment has been caused as a result of a faulty manhole leaking sewage into the False Bay Nature Reserve. He said this resulted in the decision to issue the pre-directive and if necessary, a directive may follow.
“If a directive is issued, the City will be ordered to contain or prevent the movement of pollutants or the cause of the degradation, eliminate any source of the pollution or degradation and remedy the effects of the pollution or degradation,” he said.
Bredell said failure to comply with a directive was an offence and a person convicted was liable to a fine not exceeding R10 million or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 10 years, or to both.
Chairman of the False Bay Nature Reserve Protected Areas Advisory Committee Jenny Day said deluges of sewage spilling into the vlei have occurred from time to time over the last few years, mostly as a result of failure of infrastructure such as pipes and pumps and the recent events have been the most serious and were likely to have long-term effects on the vlei.
Vice chairperson of Friends of Zeekoevlei and Rondevlei Tom Schwerdtfeger requested that the scope of the investigation be expanded to include other additional spills.
“We note though that this pre-directive does not cover the subsequent massive spill on 9 and 10 July (the Fountain in Rondevlei) nor the ingress of sewage into the Rondevlei section of FBNR via the storm water system in the following day,” said Schwerdtfeger.
The City said the spill had been mostly contained and seepage into the vlei was significantly reduced. The City said a draft action plan has been compiled to address the rehabilitation and repair, including for the infrastructure of the roads and picnic area, the terrestrial ecosystem and banks of the vlei, as well as the water body.