Sewage works 'disaster waiting to happen'

2011-07-01 22:16

Johannesburg - South Africa's sewage works are a disaster waiting to happen, trade union Uasa said on Friday.

"The shocking state of the country’s waste water treatment plants [are] in need of an urgent high level intervention," Uasa spokesperson Andre Venter said in a statement.

The absence of intervention is "gradually feeding the disaster which is slowly but surely creeping up on us", he said.

Venter was reacting to the latest Green Drop Report released by Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa on Thursday.

The report measured the state of wastewater treatment plants in all nine provinces.

It indicated that less than half of South Africa's 821 sewage works were treating billions of litres of effluent they receive each day to safe and acceptable standards.

While it awards Green Drop status to 40 plants - up from 33 in 2009 - it warned that another 460 plants (56%) were either in "critical state" or delivering a "very poor performance".

Venter said some of the problems stemmed from a lack of human capacity and infrastructure. The current financial and managerial situation was also an issue for concern.

"Citizens all over the world are not keen to pay for sewage removal."

On the positive side, Venter commended the department for "a tremendous amount of good work" that was being done.

He cited an example of the department's innovative plan to reward municipalities that effectively manage their water treatment plants.

Of the 821 plants, a total of 40 - those awarded Green Drop status - were in an "excellent situation".

Seventy-eight were "good”, and 243 delivered an "average performance".

  • Sharon Smith - 2011-07-01 22:46

    Wow, they really just know how to mess up everything they touch. Sies!!! I feel so sorry for our young children. What is gonne be left for them to enjoy. No clean water to drink, no garden to admire, no pools to swim in. I guess for them, then water will just be a luxury..

      OZNOB - 2011-07-02 00:20

      wait until we get the cholera and other diseases becoming epidemics then it will become a case of eish it was apartheids fault

      Marcell - 2011-07-02 01:03

      More trees should be planted.

      mark - 2011-07-02 06:15

      Water: the war of the near future!

      LemonParty - 2011-07-02 06:15

      Well all we need to do is look at other African countries, remember we are just another African "state". A few years ago when people made these comments, it was always slated that it would never happen, well this is only the beginning.

      Grayman - 2011-07-02 07:34

      @Dan: What was the alternative? Had he not surrendered there would have been a bloody war with lots of casualties both sides and the infrastructure would have collapsed in 17 months, let alone 17 years. Look on the bright side, at least it lasted 17 years!

      Ian - 2011-07-02 07:59

      You said it Sharon, I have however had a good giggle at the uneducated anc cadre that gave your 100% common sense comment the thumbs down, what a bunch

      michaelx - 2011-07-02 08:23


      Francois - 2011-07-02 20:47

      Come on Sharon, it is not so bad, it contains ANC election promises!

  • keng - 2011-07-01 23:00

    The sins of the fathers. Unfortunately 70% of the country are morons, yes as in "total, total idiots" (irrespective of colour) ignorance knows no boundaries. A normal child of four has more intellectual awareness and vocabulary\cognitive skills. These plebes have no comprehension of what is happening to. or around them. They are no better than a bitch on heat and have as much understanding of the environmental impact as pinky (as in and the brain). It caused me much grief today to see our majority in action stoning puppies to death.

      debrakayestylist - 2011-07-01 23:30

      Get out there, take a group of kids and educate them about sterilisation,socialization and the benefits and needs of puppies immediately!! Anybody can talk, take some action! NOW before its too late.

      kidblack - 2011-07-02 01:02

      as long as they have a shiny car and fancy meals, work is secondary. actually achieving something and making a success of your responsibilities is virtually unknown in our public works. you see, white people didnt actually have to work to get they have, they just sat back and ordered people around, and somehow, miraculously, everything worked. well this is a clear example that this is not the case.

      Marcell - 2011-07-02 01:05

      One animal killing another. It is all part of nature.

      Johan Smit - 2011-07-02 08:24

      Keng, could this be because there is something in the water there in SA?

      Tony - 2011-07-05 23:47

      It really depends where you live and who you communicate with. But, it obvious that you like communicating with idiots because that is all you know about our country.

  • HCrouse - 2011-07-01 23:08

    sewerage, surely?

      OZNOB - 2011-07-01 23:20

      the trouble with them allowing it all to go into rack and ruin is that all of us will end up in the sh1t

      kidblack - 2011-07-02 01:03


      brinjal - 2011-07-02 03:17

      sewerage refers to the reticulation system, if you're talking about treatment plants then it's sewage.

      Worldwise - 2011-07-02 07:27

      Which retard gave Brinjal a thumbs down?

      tryanything - 2011-07-02 07:40

      Thanks Brinjal at least I at 60 learnt somthing today. maybe because sewage and sewerage has never had to have much focus in my life. only now do we have to get involved.

      Mallyg - 2011-07-02 12:23

      @ brinjal. Sewage is the waste matter carried by sewer drains and pipes. Sewerage refers to the physical facilities (eg. treatment plants)through which sewage flows.

  • Saffer - 2011-07-01 23:47

    So we are in deep kak?

      Liberty - 2011-07-02 04:45

      Yeah we have been for quite some time figuratively speaking but soon it will be literally as well

  • horsehair - 2011-07-02 00:14

    welcome to Africa... Sh1t lines the streets all over this continent. Please remove the western influence, like the Wheel for instance

      Grayman - 2011-07-02 07:36

      ...and electricity, woven cloth, telephones ... actually just about everything except cattle herding and the short stabbing spear.

  • fraserm - 2011-07-02 01:45

    I think we set our standards too high. We actually expect people who are paid by us to treat and stop pumping sh*t into our water supplies. We need to be sympathetic, patient and understanding as these guys have big problems. Infrastructure, lack of human capacity, financial and managerial issues. Shame! Heard this before. Lack of human capacity is another way of saying incompetent. This is only one of their duties they failing. We in deep sh*t.

      Liberty - 2011-07-02 05:03

      I know why we are having a "lack of human capacity". A large number of our skilled artisans and engineers are now looking after municipalities in AUS, US, UK and Canada thanks to affirmative action and our ridiculous crime rate. A gentleman posted the other day on this subject and he stated that many of the meetings they hold in AUS is in Afrikaans as there are so many of them working there

      tryanything - 2011-07-02 07:44

      One of my ex bosses had a polite term. .'Lack of energy' meant lazy. If ever he used that term time to pull your socks up or you were gone soon (and no golden handshake either)

  • SteynaPriest - 2011-07-02 02:48

    I would like to know how the municipality in which Aliwal North (Maletswai)falls, is doing with their sewage works - green o red? Where do I get this info?

      brinjal - 2011-07-02 03:18


      mshini wam - 2011-07-02 06:43

      Aliwal North my hometown..falls under Joe Gqabi Municipality

  • Ian - 2011-07-02 04:19

    i must say i'm amused by the retarded toss who gives the thumbs down to comments which are pure common sense, moronic anc cadre mindset.

      Worldwise - 2011-07-02 07:25

      Yes Ian, and notice the ANC trolls haven't replied with any suggestions on how to rectify the situation nor have they blamed it on the whites, apartheid, oppression, bantu education etc, etc, etc. All the usual excuses. These days its a silent, anonymous thumbs down.

      Worldwise - 2011-07-02 12:19

      Ah, I see the ANC troll also gave me a thumbs down. C'mon you coward, dare you debate with us.

  • Riaan - 2011-07-02 05:40

    We can thank a corrupt ANC government, AA and BEE for this degradation of something we took for granted under the "Apartheid" Government. Or are this degradation due to "Apartheid" again.

  • anti crime - 2011-07-02 06:37

    kak spul oppad

      Prime_Evil - 2011-07-02 06:41

      Daar's 'n drol in die drinkwater.....en sy naam is Kafferment. LOL

  • jhdacruz - 2011-07-02 06:46

    This problem has nothing to do with the "Apartheid Regime" It is all to blame on corruption and local council members not caring as long as they can have their parties,overseas trips,fancy cars and live in comfortable homes.I say all our Rates and Taxes money is getting stolen daily since most of our towns and cities is so dirty and in such a mess that this is just the tip of the iceberg.We the people put all the Members in Parliament and it is up to us the people to get them out again.Stand United and stand up against them and say enough is enough citizens of this beautiful country.!!!

  • kingkong - 2011-07-02 06:56

    and yet they want to rule in all the provinces the blind leading the dumb ones stay away from our province we like it here without rampant coruption go go go

  • ChrisW - 2011-07-02 07:27

    Our vulnerability is that it is out of sight of the public and so no easy way to monitor and create public pressure. So the authorities save money by no maintaining. I Harare same thing, most people have an alternative water supply, firtsly because water can be turned off for days and secondly you cannot trust the quality.

  • paul - 2011-07-02 08:12

    This is even worse than it seems. If we are driven to drink bottled water,apparently it takes 8 equal amounts of regular water to make 1 bottle of bottled! Aren't we supposed to run out of water soon, anyway?

  • On the Verge - 2011-07-02 08:31

    Half of the problem with theses plants, besides the total lack of skills, lack of maintenance and upgrades for the growing populus, is the stormwater. So much stormwater, including all the litter (new borns included) which our 'brothers in the struggle' simply chuck into the stormwater drains, or wash into sewerage systems. Sewerage pipes are damaged and never repaired, and during the rainy season the sewerage plant inflows increase by up to 100%, and they simply overflow, resulting in untreated crap washing back into the streams, rivers, which just happen to provide the raw water for our water treatment plants. Remember that e-coli outbreak in Germany this year...well we're inline for that soon. The sad truth is that those in power will continue to put big cash back into the cities, but it's the small rural towns that are suffering the worst. @Brinjal, you're not quite correct. The sewerage is the 'stuff'. Sewage is the plant built to clean the 'stuff'

  • Steve - 2011-07-02 09:06

    We need people as loud as Mr Malema to want to lay there hands on South Africas water treatment plants and who will stand up and tell South Africans that this is going to seriously affect your future. Clean water world wide is going to be like gold dust. A matter of life and death for millions. Wake Up People and start looking after your birth place for without structure your cities will fall.

  • bokfan1 - 2011-07-02 09:15

    From the Cape Times, Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa "The Western Cape, followed by (the rest).......are producing high-performing waste-water systems. The poorer provinces are performing poorly." No sh*t Sherlock! That's a given but the reason is NOT the 'poorer provinces' but the ones run by the ANC you stupid neanderthal!

      Tony - 2011-07-05 23:53

      Simply brainless. Why don't you just leave the country or are you suicidal?

  • Judith - 2011-07-02 09:28

    The will to act has to be driven by community pressure on municipalities and the government. Not violent destructive action, but continuous pressure through civil society organisations and through the press and councillors, that keeps the situation front of mind. Businesses also need to become involved.

      Simphiwe - 2011-07-16 08:32

      It is amazing that even communities in deep rural areas are beginning to challenge their local authorities on issues of water quality, pollution of groundwater aquifers, the state of river's quality. We need to globalize and scale up community actions. SA Water Caucus need to take on municipalities and Water Boards that are performing bad when it come to management of waste water treatment plants. We need more engagements and bring solutions in the table than reacting to Green and Blue drop results.

  • Vince.York - 2011-07-02 09:57

    Ministers in South Africa have found an easy solution to everything that has been excessively taxed, by now simply creating excessively high TOLL SYSTEMS, as with road transport and Airport Taxes so solution here surely:- IS TOLL EVERY STOOL. or an alternative, award them santaco taxi flights inclusive of recapitalization funding.

  • mick - 2011-07-02 10:25

    Instead of the comrades who are running the "show" not lining their pockets,they should have looked to the future and did the same upgrading and maintanence the previous "regime" did. TOO LATE NOW - YOU HAVE ALREADY DESTROYED THE INFRA-STRUCTURE

  • Megan - 2011-07-02 10:29

    And how much more tax is the taxpayer going to have to fork out for this. They stuff up the electricity supply - we pay, stuff up roads, we have to pay, stuff up sewage - we too will end up paying

  • Collitjies - 2011-07-02 10:45

    You lot don't understand the mentality of our rulers. Why fix it if it is not completely broken yet? That is why you see bakkies with capopies parked on road sides with bonnets up and some roadside mechanics removing gearboxes or engines and a hoard of paying passengers milling around waiting for their transport to be repaired. It worked yesterday so why do preventive maintenance on the vehicle.

  • Kimi - 2011-07-04 14:45

    The sad thing is ...... The children being born today ARE the re-incarnated souls of our ancestors. If they knew that, maybe they would treat our planet better, knowing that they are dishonouring their ancestors by messing this up for the children! its not just them, its the entire human race that fails to change their filthy habits

  • Susan - 2011-07-05 13:42

    This is the result of a non-care attitude from everybody! We as consumers are just as guilty! Why don't government,on all levels not look at the municpalities that work? It is as easy as that! Everything is working fine in Durban and Cape Town, why not everywhere else????

  • Fred - 2011-07-05 19:03

    this ANC government stinks !! We owe a company that are specialists in this field, but they rather give contracts to blacks, who does not know how to resolve the problem. WTF !!

  • Tony - 2011-07-05 23:43

    Brilliant way to seek publicity Andre - always looking at the negative and hinting at the positive. Did you actually attend the National Muncipal Water Quality Conference? If you attended the Conference you would know that South Africa's water- and wastewater systems are in good hands. Tony Bowers

  • Stun Gun - 2011-07-07 16:12

    The water sometimes smells funny in Sandhurst. :-/

  • Simphiwe - 2011-07-16 08:48

    This crisis is more than what government alone could even attempt to do, collective action by all affected is required!

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