South Africa: Army Experts Step in to Assist Emfuleni Municipality With Sewage Problems

Pollution in Sebokeng as a result of the Vaal River contamination

Battling to contain the Vaal River sewage pollution, the government and Emfuleni Municipality have deployed SANDF experts to tackle the massive infrastructural problems at the area's treatment works and keep away vandals and thieves.

Two hundred soldiers began work repairing water purification systems in the Emfuleni area on Monday in a bid to stop the flow of raw sewage into the Vaal River System.

This follows a visit to the area by Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula on Friday and the promise to deploy specialist army personnel to the area by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni during his mini-budget speech in October.

Ageing infrastructure, vandalism and theft have left water treatment works in the area dysfunctional and unable to provide clean water to local communities. So dire is the situation that sewage is spilling into streets, homes and schools. A local nurse has also raised concern about the potential for disease outbreaks.

The deployment of army personnel, including engineers, in the area follows years of sewage-related problems which the community and non-governmental organisations like Save the Vaal have been battling to get addressed. They have taken their fight to the court which...

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