Hartbeespoort flooded with sewage

Hartbeespoort is flooded by sewage overflow and the Madibeng Local Municipality fails to address this ongoing problem, the Democratic Alliance says.

Sewage overflow at Sunway

“The sewage overflow is caused by the poor maintenance and lack of capacity at the sewerage plant in Sunway Village, near Hartbeespoort, and now poses a serious health risk to people,” DA councillor Erna Rossouw said.

Several smallholdings and The Sunway settlement of about 1 000 homes near the plant are at risk due to the raw sewage contaminating the groundwater and boreholes.

The sewage also flows into the Hartbeespoort Dam which further pollutes the dam, not only threatening the recreational and tourist economy along its shores but also puts all communities dependent on drinking water sourced from this dam at risk.

The Sunway Village sewerage plant has been the source of pollution and tragedy for the past years. A child drowned a few years ago after falling into a sewage tank due to the lack of safety controls around the plant. Last year the sewage plant was vandalised and eventually set alight during a service delivery protest.

“The DA has made several requests to Madibeng Local Municipality over the last six years, requesting them to connect Sunway Village to the Rietfontein sewage plant and to stop putting millions into the budget which never materialises into actual infrastructure improvement at the plant.”

Last year, during the Covid-19 lockdown, an informal settlement was established in phase 2 of Sunway Village, adding an additional 1 000 new households requiring sanitation services. Rossouw said the Madibeng Local Municipality obtained an eviction order but failed to pay the Sheriff to evict the squatters and to relocate the community to a suitable area where basic services could be provided.

“Madibeng Local Municipality does not have a plan to solve the ongoing sewage problems in Hartbeespoort, instead, they just open the mainline to the sewerage plant only for it to overflow the next day. The DA brought criminal charges against the previous mayor, Jostina Mothibe, and the municipal manager, Neo Maape, in line with the NEMA Act, but nothing has come of it.”

“To date, Madibeng remains under provincial administration. Neither the North West Provincial Government, nor new Mayor, Joseph Ratloi, or the Acting MM, Noko Seanego, are showing any willingness to bring an end to the sewage crisis or to improve service delivery in Hartbeespoort,” Rossouw said.

Residents in the Refentse settlement have also been living with sewage overflows for the past years. The situation here is critical. Sewage has been flowing through the settlement, among the houses, and into Van der Hoff Road for the past year.