The Human Rights Commission of Inquiry into the state of the Vaal River has heard that the Emfuleni Municipality is not solely responsible for the pollution, but that a number of industries, companies and other municipalities have also contributed.

The Vaal River is in a dire state, as raw sewage continues to spill into the river. At least three million people depend on the river for water.

Samson Mokoena from the Vaal Environmental Justice Alliance says the Gauteng regional office has been aware of this crisis for years.

“…Because remember, they are the custodians of our water resources and they’re the ones issuing these multiple polluters with licences. The Department should have made sure that all was dealt with 10 years ago, 15 years ago when we warned the municipalities around 2008/09 that there was a crisis waiting to happen and the department just ignored us.”

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