KZN water poisoned with cyanide

2012-02-17 14:52

Johannesburg - The raw water supply for the northern KwaZulu-Natal town of Dundee and surrounding areas has been poisoned with cyanide, uThukela Water said on Friday.

The spill was discovered on Thursday when cows died after drinking from a stream near a site outside Newcastle, spokesperson Dumisani Thabethe said.

Residents appeared to have escaped harm so far.

"There is no one who has been reported to have been affected by the spillage," he said.

Thabethe said: "We are told that about 11 cows have died, but by late evening it was 50, but I am not too sure about the accuracy of the figures.

"Our concern is people getting water directly from the river."

As a precaution, uThukela Water broadcast a warning on the Newcastle community radio station on Thursday.

The spill might have come from a site where synthetic rubber was being manufactured, but this was still being investigated, Thabethe said.

The Ngagane River was flushed with water from the Ntshingwayo Dam on Thursday in an attempt to dilute the chemical content.

Water was being released from the dam at 16 000 litres per second.

Thabethe said HTH, chlorine used in domestic swimming pools, was poured into the river before it was flushed.

"They were hoping to stimulate a chemical reaction between the HTH and the cyanide."

  • Kala - 2012-02-17 14:57

    My my we know how to the f@#$ our planet up. Find the party guilty of poisoning the river and charge them with attempted murder and get them to pay for the clean up.

      alyn.adams - 2012-02-17 15:19

      Murder involves premeditation, not an accidental act that creates a dangerous situation. Let's not over-react and render what laws we do have meaningless...

      alyn.adams - 2012-02-17 15:20

      Sorry, I should have said "premeditation and/or intention to kill"

      TheRealWarrenB - 2012-02-17 15:20

      It's Karbochem in Newcastle!

      wdvilliers - 2012-02-17 15:37

      South Africa Calcium Carbide is the real culprit

      Kala - 2012-02-17 16:00

      @Alyn Adams - I would suggest that poisoning a water source whether intentionally or not could lead to the death of a person. If that did happen then it could be classified as murder or at least culpable homocide. As yet no one has died but the water is still piosoned therefore attempted murder.

      betsy.compaan - 2012-02-17 16:27

      @Alyn, if it was an accident then maybe they should have warned the public...unless if it wasn't an accident and they just DUMPED it in the river

  • Shirley - 2012-02-17 15:18

    Who the hell would do this! Knowing the speed at which these water bodies react,the death toll could probably have been less. Bring the per to book! Shocking!

  • Whitty - 2012-02-17 15:19

    Cyanide has spread to the northern Cape too, 1 minister has collapsed up to so far.

      E=MC2 - 2012-02-17 15:27


  • E=MC2 - 2012-02-17 15:28

    pity we cant get Malema to drink from that river

  • Rudolph - 2012-02-17 15:40

    Durban poison - you're doing it wrong.

  • inwardk - 2012-02-17 15:40


  • Sabelo - 2012-02-17 15:47

    alll ma people abese Newcastle plz be cerfull

  • Nosimphiwo - 2012-02-17 16:52

    Whoever is responsible for poisoning the water should be suid and should pay for the dead cows....thats too much,50 cows,thats way too much! I feel sorry for the owner of the dead cows and ofcourse worried about the people in the community! Its serious!

  • kamnguni - 2012-02-17 17:11

    Sad thing is most of those rural people don't even know the law nor have the courage to sue whatever company/party is responsible of the water poisoning...

  • Deepchund - 2012-02-17 19:15

    Companies do as they please, especially the giants who have government officials in their pockets. There is no such thing as there possibly was an error in discharging the cyanide into the stream. There are numerous checks and balances to address this.A HAZOP would have identified this before the plant came into operation.If the local water authorities did their work properly,this would not have occurred. The culprit will get away,a plea bargain is all that is required.

  • Gerhard Lemmer Marais - 2012-02-17 21:26

    Incompetence and lack of competent management is the root cause for this tragedy. Also the synthetic rubber plant is probably a BBBEEE ownership or something I don't know shooting from the hip here. Aaah aint it nice when crap hits the fan and somebody seeks the blame? I bet you we wouldn't hear about this spillage again which after all is a tragedy. Just go to show how understaffed the DOL is by the ANC government. Mmm... On the other hand its a pitty an alternative is considered to counter the cyanide. Taking away cyanide with chlorine YOU (dumb donkey)Scuse the pun. will upset the ecological balance even more WT. .... F???? Just go to show the GOV isn't environmental friendly and now the green scorpions will prob have a raid here and there boo whoo macro and micro management in SA is a laughable matter.

  • swampgurl - 2012-02-18 08:10

    Eish...this is terrible!

  • Yolandè Rwaai - 2012-02-18 10:49

    It's a damn shame that people don't have a basic need such as running water! Whilst ANC officials are lining their pockets with millions of rands, people get water from the river in 2012, they can't even install taps for these people!

  • Adam - 2012-02-18 13:41

    My deepest sympathy to the families and loved ones of the deceased cows.

  • Adam - 2012-02-18 13:43

    Why would anybody be drinking water from a river after 20 years of fANCy government??

  • Dirk - 2012-02-20 08:57

    These people need proper water treatment urgently to remove the cyanide from their drinking water! See and like our Facebook page for regular updates!

  • bmaestro - 2012-02-20 11:05


  • bmaestro - 2012-02-20 11:07


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