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  • Writer's pictureHoedspruit Chamber Sakekamer

PRESS RELEASES - Hoedspruit Sewerage Issues

HCS is an apolitical organisation, however sometimes intervention from political parties, national community organisations and affiliate organisations is required to assist with escalating issues that cannot be handled by HCS. Hoedspruit has been no stranger to problems with our infrastructure, but the sewerage system is currently perhaps the most dire situation that requires urgent resolution. We are only placing the following press releases here to show Hoedies that we are not passive to your plights about this concern. We have reached out to multiple organisations for help.

We would like to thank the DA for making the following press releases (that went out to all media houses), available for us to post here. We reiterate, we are in no way affiliated with any political organisation, we only wish to make the information available of what has been done in support of our efforts.


MARULENG LOCAL MUNICIPALITY SEWAGE SYSTEM IN ACUTE DISREPAIR - 14 September 2023

Today he DA will file a complaint with the Environmental Management Inspectorate (Green Scorpions) against the Mopani District Municipality (MDM) for failing to maintain the sewage system in Hoedspruit.
The system which collects sewage from Hoedspruit, transport the raw sewage through a pipe and pump system to the air force base, came to a halt.
An oversight visit to Leguan Street on 13 September 2023, revealed one of the worst sewage spills in the whole Olifants river system.
MDM is the agent responsible for the running and maintenance of the system. A few weeks ago, the pump near LeBamba shopping centre was out of service for weeks before MDM finally repaired the pump.
Now the pipe at the Leguan street sewage pump station complex is apparently blocked. Only 1 of the 2 pumps is working, because the chain system that is used to lift the pump, fell into a manhole.
As the manhole is currently full of sewage, it is impossible to retrieve the chain system. The second pump is functional but can’t pump because there is a blockage somewhere in the system.
The workers failed to align the second pump with the outgoing pipe due to the thick sludge at the bottom of the manhole and installed temporarily pipe to get the sewage out of the manhole so that this pump can later properly aligned with the outgoing pipe.
The shredder motor in the incoming system is out of order. That seems to be one of the problems as the system cannot cope with the thick sludge – apparently one of the reasons for the blockage.
The 3 kilometer pipeline from the pump station to where the pipe enter the air force base system, is without any manhole. That means it is almost impossible to find the blockage without breaking the pipe – which will lead to longer down time and a possible sewage spill where the pipe is broken to detect the blockage.
Due to the constant and increased level of loadshedding, the pumps cannot function properly. This leads to a back-up of effluent and the eventual failing of the system. A backup generator is available but the electronic system that must switch the generator on during load shedding has been broken for more than 5 years.
MDM has at long last put out a tender to fix the generator. This is one of the primary reasons for the constant disfunction of the system. During loadshedding the pump stops and the sewage starts building up.
The raw sewage is running between the hostel and the school and poses a a real danger to the lives of the learners.
The stench is overpowering and especially on hot days in Hoedspruit the people get sick and vomit because of the unbearable smell.
Some of the residents in the house nearby complain that raw sewage is pushing up into their houses. Some residents left their homes because the situation is unbearable.
The pollution is threatening animals and plant life and the raw sewage is flowing down to the Blyde river, up to now one of the cleanest rivers in South Africa.
The negligence by MDM is causing pollution to destroy a large part of the Hoedspruit area renowned as one of the most popular tourist destinations in South Africa.
We call on the Green Scorpions to expedite their investigation and to hold the MDM officials accountable.


DA reports Hoedspruit SAPS to Limpopo Service Complaint Centre for refusing to open case against municipality over sewage spill - 3 October 2023

The DA in Limpopo has written to the Limpopo Service Complaint Centre, to investigate and provide reasons for the refusal by the police in Hoedspruit to open a criminal case against the Mopani District Municipality .
This follows numerous attempts to open a criminal case for widespread sewage pollution due to the failure to maintain the sewage system in Hoedspruit, and this has resulted in sewage spills flowing through a local school ground and polluting a perennial river in the Raptors Wildlife Estate. The sewage pollution is also detrimental to residents and the local economy that is heavily reliant on tourism.
On the 28th of September the police in Hoedspruit claimed that they cannot open a case because the affidavit does not contain any offence, despite the document including references to the applicable sections in the various laws.
On the 29th of September the police were again presented with the affidavit accompanied by sections of the National Water Act as well as the National Environmental Management Act that state that raw sewage pollution is a criminal offense and still refused to open a criminal case.
The SAPS in Hoedspruit have been persistent in their refusal to open the case without providing a valid reason and eventually reluctantly said that they will open “an enquiry” but will not open a criminal case saying that they don't have the "code" needed for the "system" to produce a case number.
Communities deserve optimal service delivery from the police and they must accept all valid criminal complaints and investigate them in a transparent and fair manner. The DA will closely monitor developments around this issue.

DA pressure results in Hoedspruit SAPS finally opening case against municipality for sewage spill - 20 October 2023

The DA welcomes Hoedspruit SAPS finally opening a criminal case against the Mopani District Municipality (MDM) because of the massive raw sewage spill that took place during September 2023 at the Raptors Wildlife Estate and the adjacent school. The Hoedspruit SAPS had initially refused to open the case.
I was informed of the case being opened and the name of the investigating officer on the 19th of October. The investigating officer indicated that he had already visited the offices of the MDM and has requested the municipality to arrange a meeting so that he can obtain the declarations from implicated officials.
The pollution is contrary to the provisions in the National Water Act (NWA) and the National Environmental Management Act. Officials from the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) found that “The investigation further confirmed that the containment of raw sewer within the pump station for disposal at Drakensig Wastewater Treatment Works (WWTWs) which trigger section 21(g) of NWA was commenced without authorisation”. It was therefore urgent to hold the municipality to account and enforce the applicable laws.
The rehabilitation of the environment must be done urgently by the municipality and the Home Owners Association of the Raptors Estate must receive compensation for the emergency rehabilitation. The emergency rehabilitation was done to prevent serious illness due to the raw sewage and to prevent further water, ground water and soil pollution.
In the meantime another spill took place at the main gate of the Hoedspruit Air Force Base which was so severe that the gate was closed for at least two weeks due to the bad smell. It is clear that sanitation infrastructure is collapsing due to mismanagement by MDM.
The DA will closely monitor developments around these sewage spills to ensure that maintenance and repairs are done to the system and there is rehabilitation of areas affected by raw sewage.

We would like to thank members of the community who have raised their concerns and demanded action and/or feedback. Also to the residents and HOA of Raptors View who have taken the initiative to get water tests done and treating water. And then Southern Cross School who held an information session for parents. We can confirm work is being done on the line but cannot confirm completion at this stage.

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