Ignored sewage leaks makes Sabie water undrinkable

Issued by Sonja Boshoff: MP – Member of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP)
06 Sep 2023 in Press Releases

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Mpumalanga warns residents of Sabie in Thaba Chweu Local Municipality, about the possibility and risk of waterborne diseases as their fresh water is severely contaminated with E-coli and faecal coliform bacteria.

The above was revealed in a report from independent tests done in collaboration with the Sabie Chamber of Commerce and Tourism (SCCT) and other stakeholders. The E-coli findings were reported to the municipality; but they have done nothing about it to date. 

The SCCT has accused the municipality of turning a blind eye to the matter by failing to find a long-term solution to the sewer leakages that are suspected to be the major causes of the contamination of Sabie fresh water. The municipality has also been accused of failing to address and repair numerous sewage leaks and blocked drains reported over a period of almost 18 months (about 1 and a half years). 

Currently, Sabie sewage plant remains non–functioning and there is no water purification or treatment in the area. Failing infrastructure, specifically the sewage plant, which has been brought to the attention of the municipality numerously, has now exacerbated to a human rights issue and violation to their rights to access to clean drinking water and healthy environment. 

The DA, the Chamber and the Sabie Ratepayers Association have recommended that the municipality do the following as a matter of urgency: 

  • Upgrade and repair the entire sewage system. 
  • Immediately attend to reported sewer leaks 

Residents of Sabie can no longer afford to wait for the municipality to act on human rights violation issues like sewer leakages. The DA and the other partners like the Sabie Ratepayers Association and the Sabie Chamber of Commerce and Tourism have given the municipality seven days to meet and address the issue of water contamination or face possible criminal charges.