Criminal cases opened against municipalities for sewage spills

Sewage spillage seen running down a stream.
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The Water and Sanitation Department has opened criminal cases against municipalities across the country for contravening environmental and water legislation.

It says the affected municipalities are responsible for sewage spills and do not comply with government’s clean-up directives.

Last month the Govan Mbeki Local Municipality in Mpumalanga was slapped with a R200-million fine for pumping raw sewage into rivers.

Anet Muir, the department’s Chief Director responsible for compliance with water regulation, elaborates.

“When we have non-compliance, the department first will issue administrative action. So we’ll issue a notice that says we’ve detected that there was this non-compliance and they are all given an opportunity to provide representation. If we then evaluate that and there’s no action trying to address the non-compliance, we will then move to directives.

And if they don’t adhere to the instructions in that directive, we will open a criminal case. Obviously, being government is intergovernmental relations, but we have to have meetings first and ensure the support can be given to municipalities to improve their performance.”

Water and Sanitation Dept opens 36 criminal cases against 26 municipalities for sewage spills