Milnerton Estuary, near the Lagoon Beach Hotel, resort and conference centre, where water discolouration was seen last week.
Milnerton Estuary, near the Lagoon Beach Hotel, resort and conference centre, where water discolouration was seen last week.

Outa demands proof from City of Cape Town that they are stopping Milnerton pollution

By Mthuthuzeli Ntseku Time of article published Aug 2, 2021

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Cape Town - The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) has demanded that the City and provincial authorities provide proof that they were working to stop the ongoing sewage pollution in the Milnerton Lagoon.

The organisation also demanded to know what the provincial and national authorities were doing to ensure the City’s compliance to a directive – to remedy the state of the Diep River and Milnerton Lagoon – which was issued September last year.

Outa senior legal project manager Andrea Korff said the organisation believed that the ongoing sewage spills meant that the City had not done enough to ensure compliance with the directive and protect the water system, while the provincial government had failed to oversee compliance adequately.

“While progress has been made, the ongoing high level of sewage pollution in the Diep River system is evidence of the City’s failure to resolve the underlying issues, six months after the directive was confirmed.

“The pollution issue is a systemic issue and has even spilled over to other nature reserves, which is absolutely unacceptable. It is not surprising that the City’s test results revealed that the Diep River estuary mouth contained 380 000 cfu/100ml of E coli, in tests carried out on July 1,” said Korff.

Korff said, if they do not receive a response or should the response not be satisfactory, they would consider taking further action, which may include approaching the courts for appropriate relief, referring the matter to the Human Rights Commission, or submitting a formal complaint to the police.

Mayoral committee member for water and waste Xanthea Limberg said an action plan,to address chronic pollution in the Diep River has been developed, and was transversal and inclusive of a number of different departments and tiers of government.

She said there was a monthly report of short, medium and long-term interventions being implemented, submitted to sub-councils and the Western Cape government, which was available publicly.

Environmental Affairs and Development Planning spokesperson Rudolf van Jaarsveldt said a series of administrative notices have, from time to time, been served by the Department to the City.

Jaarsveldt said the joint Action Plan will address, among other issues, water sampling, action against polluters, community engagement, and investigating sources of pollution within the Diep River, situated above the City’s area of jurisdiction.

“He said the matter has been recently escalated to the premier/ mayor’s meetings, in which the premier had instructed that a joint task team – from the City and the provincial government – be established to address the serious environmental issues within the Diep River catchment.

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