South Africa: Ethekwini Accused of Deliberately Misleading the Public Over Sewage-Polluted Beaches

analysis

The eThekwini Municipality has some tough questions to answer on whether it misled the citizens of Duban during a series of flip-flop decisions to close/open/close sewage-polluted beaches last week.

If the eThekwini Municipality's communications unit and senior city official Malcolm Canham are to be believed, the recent torrent of treacle-coloured water at the mouth of the Durban's Umgeni River "just looks a bit unsightly" and "there might be a bit of a groundwater smell" when bathers take a dip along the city's Golden Mile.

In fact, the communications department claimed, the murky water was "free of any pollution that may pose threat to life" and was due to rotting water hyacinth plants washed down by the recent heavy rain.

No worries. Nothing to see here. It's quite safe to take a dip, they reassured the public on Thursday.

Canham even went on camera on e.tv to declare that "the [water] samples have come back clear".

But which samples was Canham referring to?

Surely not the results obtained by Our Burning Planet, which reveal that on the very day that Canham was reassuring the public that all was safe, Escherichia.coli levels (an indicator of sewage bacteria) in the Umgeni River exceeded...

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