Patrick Laurence (PoliticsWeb) wrote yesterday that South Africa faces a far more disruptive threat than Eskom power failures. He reckons that this threat is potentially calamitous and may even be seen by religiously-minded citizens as the coming of the biblically predicted apocalypse.
It will be characterised by the failure of wastewater purification systems, the pollution of rivers and damns and even the poisoning of waters in reservoirs or damns serving as reservoirs if the purification process is inadequate at that level.
The first signs of the disaster are already visible in remote rural areas where the municipalities - which are responsible for wastewater purification - are too poor to attract appropriately qualified personnel to operate purification systems and ensure that they are properly maintained.
Though water and environment affairs minister Buyelwa Sonjica denies that there is a water crisis at present, she implicitly admits that one is inevitable unless strenuous action is taken to prevent it when she warns that South Africa will have to spend R23-billion to prevent the collapse of the wastewater treatment system. Click here to read more about this looming disaster on PoliticsWeb.
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CRIMINAL CHARGES LAID AGAINST MINISTERS OVER WATER
Criminal charges over the pollution of the country’s water supply were laid against three ministers at the Brooklyn police station in Pretoria.
After laying the charges, TauSA chairman Louis Meintjes said the organisation had been forced to approach the police after Minister of Agriculture Tina Joemat-Pettersson, Mining Minister Susan Shabangu and Water Affairs Minister Buyelwa Sonjica, had repeatedly failed to address the problem.
“We want them to act and get the water clean...a snowball that gets too big is a runaway snowball,” he said.
Meintjes said mines which used 7% of the country’s water supply were responsible for 75% of water pollution.
He said Sonjica should have acted in line with the National Water Act and that Shabangu should have known that mining, water supply and food security were directly linked.
He said the act provided that it was criminal for ministers to knowingly or unintentionally allow for natural resources to be jeopardised.
“If it’s not the ministers, who is responsible?” - SAPA
Sources: www.politicsweb.co.za and www.citypress.co.za
Environmental disaster flowing from the West Rand
Environmental TV-programme 50/50 is back
Editor: Philip J. Boon; Catherine M. Pringle
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: May 2009
Available now at Amazon.com or Kalahari.net (South Africa)