South Africa: Sewage Crisis in Graaff-Reinet After Infrastructure Funds Are Used for Drought Relief

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Despite meetings, countless reports, attempts to fix it and even criminal charges, the sewage problem in Graaff-Reinet has become extremely serious, with residents now asking that drought funding be channelled to fix the collapsing infrastructure instead. This comes after millions allocated to the municipality to fix the town's sewerage system was spent on drought relief instead.

"We have an extremely serious sewerage problem," says the chairperson of the Graaff-Reinet Economic Development Forum, Derek Light.

In November 2019 the forum laid a formal complaint with the Department of Water Affairs against the Beyers Naude Municipality over ongoing sewage spills in the town and into the Sundays River. This resulted in the department issuing the municipality with a directive to fix the problems.

"They tried, but their attempt at fixing the problem only lasted a few weeks," Light said.

"We are on the municipality's case all the time. One of the problems is that a lot of money was made available for drought relief and was spent on finding new solutions, but not enough was allocated for the maintenance of existing infrastructure. We can't stress enough that the sewerage system is part of the water cycle. We are advocating for some of...

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