SANDF gets to work on Vaal River

Friday, November 23, 2018

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) will from Monday roll up its sleeves and begin cleaning the Vaal River, which is currently clogged by sewage.

This follows a full assessment by the SANDF on the extent of pollution in the Vaal River System caused by sewage flowing into the river.

“A full assessment has been done and there is a comprehensive report that points to the challenges in the different areas and what the solutions for those are.

“Starting from Monday, the primary septic tank will be cleaned by engineers from SANDF and they will be working with the municipality,” said Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula on Friday.

The Minister was speaking at the Sebokeng wastewater treatment plant in the Vaal where she conducted a site visit of the rehabilitation project.

She was accompanied by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Deputy Minister Obed Bapela and Emfuleni mayor Jacob Khawe.

Population growth, aging infrastructure, vandalism and lack of capacity are just some of the reasons given by Mapisa-Nqakula for the water pollution.

Communities affected by the sewage are Boipatong, Vereeniging, Sharpeville and Sebokeng in the Emfuleni Local Municipality.

SANDF’s intervention and deployment of technical teams follows an announcement by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni during his Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement in October that the defence force had been called in to assist in efforts to urgently rehabilitate the Vaal River system.

Although the military has only been deployed to the Vaal, 57 municipalities have been identified for intervention, with R5 billion set aside for this purpose.

With the Vaal River supplying 50% of Gauteng’s water, Mapisa-Nqakula urged that long-term solutions be identified to avoid future occurrences.

“We don’t want a situation where two to three years down the line, we find ourselves back here. We need to do something that will provide a permanent solution,” she said. -