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MEC tells Transnet to clean up its act

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Young children and the elderly in Electro Park, who have been exposed to raw sewage, have presented with various infections

Picture: Supplied

THE MEC for Agriculture, Land Reform, Rural Development, Environment and Nature Conservation, Nomandla Bloem, has warned Transnet and other companies to “clean up their act” and stop polluting the environment.

Electro Park residents’ cries for help have been heard and finally action is being taken to relieve them of the constant sewage problem they face.

“Clearly the people of Electro Park have been denied their constitutional right to an environment that is not harmful to their health and well-being. Without even conducting any tests we could tell that the air they breathe is polluted and that cannot go unpunished,” Bloem warned.

“We have also received similar complaints in Postmasburg due to mining activities and we are going to act.”

Bloem was on her way to Postmasburg yesterday to investigate the impact that the dust emanating from the mines is having on residents.

Young children and the elderly in Electro Park, who have been exposed to raw sewage, have presented with various infections.

A two-year-old girl spent almost a month in hospital after apparently coming into contact with the contaminated water in the area.

On Friday, sewage monitors from the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform, Rural Development, Environment and Nature Conservation visited the area.

“However, we did not take any water samples for testing. We could tell that it was sewage overflow and there was no need to confirm anything,” spokesperson Lesego Pule said.

He added that the information the department received was that it was privately owned property.

“We know that the land is owned by Transnet and the municipality is therefore not responsible for maintenance. We also heard that Transnet was unwilling to come to the party because they allege the problem is as a result of poor waste management practices by the residents, who dispose of all sorts of things including nappies into the system which causes these blockages,” Pule said.

A compliance notice is now being compiled, said Pule, which will force Transnet to attend to the problem.

“They need to attend to unblocking the sewerage system and the clean-up of the affected area as a matter of urgency. This will not only be for the reported case but on a regular basis going forward. The compliance notice will also direct them to develop an awareness campaign on waste management.”

Pule went on to say that the department had developed an awareness programme in Ritchie based on the problems residents experienced on a daily basis in that area.

“We shall also roll out similar programmes across the Province as part of Environment Month,” Pule said.