Spotlight on unlawful water use and pollution

Alex Matlala

Minister Lindiwe Sisulu. Photo: Chantall Presence / ANA

Another case where the department had intervened was at Sishen Mine in the Northern Cape.

There were more than 50 criminal cases of water and river polluters between 2017 and July this year across the country, the department of human settlements, water and sanitation said at the weekend.

The department has since called on people to take an active stand against the pollution of rivers. Its call coincides with the department’s campaign, Clear Rivers, which advocates for citizens to clean up rivers and water ecosystems.

“Over the years, the department has fastened its hand to enforcement actions taken against polluters across the country,” said departmental spokesperson Sputnik Ratau in a statement.

“Between 2017 to date, more than 50 criminal cases have been opened against transgressors. Of the 50, nine cases have been finalised. In addition, 15 court interdict applications are under way for pollution-related cases.”

Ratau said some of the cases include Lunathi Mining, situated near Hendrina in Mpumalanga. He said the department received a complaint from a community member about unlawful water use by the mine. He said a probe revealed that a mine shaft was full of water and overflowing downstream.

“The mine was urged to stop unlawful water use and pollution, and told to rehabilitate the affected areas,” said Ratau.

Another case where the department had intervened was at Sishen Mine in the Northern Cape, where the mine was found to be contravening some conditions of a water use license.

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