Midmar’s toxic threat

2011-06-03 00:00

DESPITE warnings from environmentalists, the local and district municipalities of uMngeni and uMgungundlovu are pushing ahead with their plans to develop low-cost housing right next to Midmar Dam.

The soil has been dug up and sites marked, and it seems as if nothing will stop the councils from going ahead.

The site of the Khayelisha housing project has caused major controversy since 2002 when it was first suggested.

The location has been criticised both by environmentalists, who warn it could compromise the water quality of Midmar Dam, and by the informal settlement dwellers who are due to be relocated to the area, but who say it is too far from their workplaces.

Many residents from the informal settlement of Shiyabizali told The Witness it will cost them too much in taxi fares to get to their jobs near Howick.

Environmentalists fear the location will pollute Midmar Dam with phosphates, which have turned the Hartebeespoort Dam in the North West province into a stinking cesspool where residents cannot drink the tap water and have to buy bottled water.

Phosphates feed off sewage, and this releases toxins that are extremely harmful to humans.

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