The Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation has welcomed the progress made by the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) to address the challenges of pollution in the municipalities of Emfuleni and the City of Tshwane.
While much work has been done over the last few months, committee chairperson Machwene Semenya said there was a need for another physical visit to the areas to ascertain the veracity of the improvements that the DWS reported.
Further, she urged the DWS to ensure that the companies appointed to secure the water infrastructure, including the employees, were subjected to a thorough vetting process, as the credibility of the companies providing security at the infrastructure projects was of paramount importance.
In Emfuleni local municipality, the committee noted that good progress had been made to repair key and critical pump stations and rising mains to make them compliant with their effluent discharge licence conditions.
“The department has made interventions relating to securing and safeguarding the infrastructure, while repairing bulk networks to eliminate spillages,” said DWS Gauteng provincial head Sibusiso Mthembu during a virtual meeting last week.
The spillages had become a longstanding challenge to businesses and communities in the area and these efforts would achieve operations and maintenance levels required to minimise and stop the pollution of the Vaal river, he said.
Meanwhile, a number of challenges that were faced during the upgrade and refurbishment of the Rooiwal Wastewater Treatment Works, in the City of Tshwane, had already been addressed.
These included the emptying and cleaning of digesters, as well as the stripping and removal of old filter belts and pressers at the dewatering building, which is almost complete.
The committee noted that there was significant work being conducted to ensure the successful completion of the refurbishment to improve the quality of the effluent being discharged into the Apies river.