Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Deputy Minister David Mahlobo has urged stakeholders affected by the pollution in the Vaal River to work together and speedily come up with solutions that will benefit concerned communities.
The Deputy Minister made the call during a “Save the Vaal” stakeholder engagement held at Stonehaven in Vanderbijlpark, in Gauteng, on Monday.
The meeting was attended by the Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Basic Services at Emfuleni Local Municipality, Bheki Ntsele, representatives from the Sedibeng District Municipality, Rand Water and the Metsi le Temo, a non-profit organisation.
The department said the main aim of the meeting was to bring different stakeholders together and come up with alternative solutions to the ailing waste water treatment works network system (Sebokeng, Rietspruit and Leeuwkuil) connected to the Vaal River System.
“The meeting agreed that it is futile to keep on pointing fingers towards one another and it is in the interest of the affected communities to work towards a common goal to address the waste water treatment works capacities in the Vaal,” the department said in a statement.
During the meeting, Mahlobo emphasised the need to establish a task team made up of the present stakeholders, including the Water Research Commission (WRC) and the Agriculture Research Council (ARC) solely to look at the proposal of reusing treated waste water for agricultural purposes such as irrigating, cash crops and aqua culture activities in the Vaal area.
“This matter is part of the outcomes of the visit by Deputy President David Mabuza on 12 September and part of the responsibilities the Deputy President tasked Deputy Minister Mahlobo with,” said the department.
“This area has a problem of a high unemployment rate, and this proposal has a potential to bring thousands of jobs to the doorstep of the people. We should not let our differences, of any kind, hinder us from focusing on the most important task at hand,” the Deputy Minister said.
MMC Bheki Ntsele will chair the newly established task team and it is set to meet for the first time on 11 November. – SAnews.gov.za