ActionSA launches ‘Sh***y Tour’ to highlight failed sewage infrastructure

A sewage spill in Nomzamo, Strand

A sewage spill in Nomzamo, Strand

Published May 15, 2024


ActionSA this week decried the state of what they termed as failed sewage infrastructure causing misery for residents as the party kicked off its “Sh***y Tour” in Cape Town.

This comes as the City on Tuesday announced the installation of 37 state-of-the-art 12KW inverters at 27 pump stations to help prevent sewer spills.

The R10.9 million investment, the City said, also helps to improve its resilience against load shedding.

ActionSA’s Michael Beaumont said as the member for Infrastructure on Team Fix SA, he had “toured the water, road and rail infrastructure of our country and now it is appropriate to begin with sewage as one of greatest issues undermining the dignity of South Africans”.

On Monday morning, Beaumont kicked off the tour in Simon’s Town after alleged sewage spills on beaches.

“I stood on the closed beaches of eThekwini only a few weeks ago, a City where the number of tourists has declined from 7.9 million in 2015 to 800 000 in 2023, largely because of an inability to handle a sewage crisis.

“This should be a stark warning to the residents of the Western Cape. It is entirely appropriate that this tour begins here in Cape Town, because the City of Cape Town has proven to be as full of it as the oceans ... The visuals we have witnessed from the air of raw, untreated sewage going out into a protected marine reserve have been astonishing.

“While it is true that the City of Cape Town has disposed of its sewage through marine outfalls since 1895, the truth is that much has changed over 130 years ... ActionSA has fought this issue since it became clear that a growing community of civil society had been ignored by the City of Cape

Town’s public consultations processes when they raised serious contraventions of legislation.”

They alleged authorities had “not played honestly on this matter” by seeking to mislead the public into believing that the sewage had been treated.

Beaumont said they would also be visiting Nomzamo in Strand, a community that he said has had to contend with pooling of sewage.

The City, however, said its inverter installations were a strategic project which began in July 2023 with the objective of reducing sewer overflows, particularly during power outages.

Each inverter is fitted with at least one battery, which can provide up to four hours of back-up power, and in the long term lasts for up to 20 years.

Mayco member for water and sanitation Zahid Badroodien denied that the City was “misleading the public” and said that a recent independent audit undertaken to assess the compliance of the Hout Bay, Camps Bay and Green Point marine outfalls has found that the pre-treatment facility is on average 97% compliant with all parameters.

“Public information meetings regarding the marine outfalls were held, providing transparent and comprehensive information to all stakeholders, including representatives from ActionSA.

“During these engagements, the City consistently communicated that preliminary fine screening occurs before discharge at all marine outfalls.

This means that the outfalls discharge wastewater into the ocean only after undergoing degritting and screening processes.”

Cape Times