Report attached for download.
11 & 12 JANUARY 2020 – the FSE conducting surveys within the Vaal river system with Russel Tate and Simone Liefferink.
LETTER TO THE SOUTH AFRICAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION Dear Mr Jones, I thank you for your brief response. Permit me please to copy Commissioner Ameermia, Ms Chantal Kisoon, Ms Yuri Ramkissoon and Mr Matthew du Plessis on this e-mail, since my organisation (the FSE) and I have engaged with them in the past as well as with Ms Janet Love, a former Commissioner of the SAHRC. The FSE was/is also a member of the Commission’s Section 11 Advisory Committees on Acid Mine Drainage (AMD), unregulated artisanal mining and recently the National Hearing on the Underlying Socio-economic Challenges of Mining-Affected Communities in South Africa. Permit me now to, as an established human rights defender, and member of inter alia the Department of Water and Sanitation’s: Water Sector Leadership Group Sustainable Development Goal 6 Task Team Catchment Management Fora (CMF) including the Rietspruit Catchment Management Forum, the Blesbokspruit CMF, the Wonderfonteinspruit CMF, the Mooi River CMF, etc. Strategy Steering Committee on the Reconciliation of the Integrated Vaal River System and on behalf of the FSE, respectfully report as follows: Since the Commission’s Hearings and the Defence Force’s intervention, Rand Water reported exceptionally high e-coli counts and elevated total ammonia, which are indicative of sewage pollution, at the last Department of Water and Sanitation’s (DWS) Rietspruit Catchment Management Forum (attached). The instream water quality downstream of the Sebokeng@Rietspruit Waste Water Treatment Works showed e-coli counts of 6,539,700 per 100ml and ammonia levels of 17. According to the instream water quality guidelines for the Rietspruit Catchment e-coli counts of more than 400 counts per 100ml and ammonia levels of more than 5 are unacceptable. It follows hence that the situation has not improved but deteriorated. The situation is not unique to the Rietspruit Catchment. The recently launched National Water and Sanitation Master Plan reported that: 56% of waste water treatment works and 44% of water treatment works are in a poor or critical condition; 11% of this infrastructure is completely dysfunction; Between 1999 and 2011 the extent of the main rivers in South Africa classified as having a poor ecological condition increased by 500%, with some rivers pushed beyond the point of recovery; South Africa has lost over 50% of its wetlands and those that remain, 33% are in a poor ecological condition; R33 billion more is needed each year for the next 10 years to achieve water security. The recently published DWS’ State of the Rivers Report (2017-2018) found that: Only 15% is in a good condition; The Vaal River Water Management Area has no sites in a good condition The DWS reported during the 2ndStrategy Steering Committee of the Integrated Vaal River System Reconciliation Strategy that, notwithstanding the fact that the Integrated Water Quality Management Strategy identified a need for the implementation of a strategy to address microbial pollution in the Vaal River in 2009, the strategy has not been implemented, that is, after the effluxion of more than ten (10) years. (Please see second attached document.) In the light of the above-mentioned facts, and the fact that a number of human rights are currently being violated such as the right to life, the right to dignity, the right to an environment that is not harmful to health and well-being and the right to sufficient water (of sufficient quality and quantity), we beg of you to – in terms of your mandate - expedite the publishing of your report; to take the necessary steps (including the issuing of Directives to and prosecution of polluters) to secure appropriate redress of the violation of the abovementioned human rights and to carry out research. In this regard, the FSE has offered the services to the Commission of Russell Tate and Simone Liefferink, who are both water quality experts, on a pro bona basis. Their research is ongoing and they are eager to engage with the Commission on their results. The research by Prof. Johann Tempelhoff of the North West University and a non-executive director of the FSE is also ongoing and, it is our considered opinion, will be of great value to the Commission. We respectfully request a response to this e-mail.
Find attached the FSE’s comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Assessment Report of Ergo Mining (Pty) Ltd: The Valley Silts Project, Riverlea and Booysens Reserve, Johannesburg.
On Sunday, 1 December at 7pm, eNCA took a critical look at the country’s water woes in a special debate titled ’The Uncomfortable Truth’. The Department of Water and Sanitation estimates that we lose 37 to 41% of our available water to leaks, at an estimated cost of R6-billion a year. Watch the videos here.
Download the attached Water & Sanitation Plan for 2030.
Watch the video here.
Report attached for download.
The Federation for a Sustainable Environment (FSE), have attended the Minister of Human Settlement, Water and Sanitation’s Budget Vote and the Stakeholder Engagement on the 16th of July, 2019. The Stakeholder Engagement included presentations by the CEO’s of the two established CMA’s (which were referred to as “Water Boards”); the Strategic Water Partners Network (SWPN)*; National Business Initiative; the World Bank and WISA. Regrettably, other stakeholders such as NGOs were not given the opportunity to engage. *(The Partners in the SWPN are the South African Ministry of Water and Sanitation, World Bank, IFC, WEF, SAB, Coca Cola, Anglo American, Sasol, Nestle, Eskom, South 32, Exxaro, SASA, Distell and Coca Cola Bottling Association.) Allow me please to briefly report on the Minister’s Budget presentation. Please click here for the full report. From a non-political and non-racial NGO’s perspective, it was hoped that the Minister’s and the opposition parties’ presentations would have transcended political and racial barriers. Regrettably, it did not. The Minister acknowledged inter alia: The financial crisis/financial mismanagement (“huge financial problems”) The irregular expenditure The inequality in the distribution of water Lack of capacity (limited technical staff) particularly in the municipalities (the compulsory training of municipalities) The disproportionate percentage of water used for agriculture (61%) with 95% of water in the hands of white people The aging infrastructure without the necessary skills and support at the right time or the right place to manage our problems on time Vandalism and theft of infrastructure Non-payment for services The lack of skills which necessitated the appointment and monies spent on over-priced consultants Effluent in rivers Challenges with coordination between the three tiers for the provision of water Non-compliance by the mining industry with its water license conditions The proposed interventions are inter alia: To engage Treasury on the significant budget shortfalls of more than R2 billion affecting key projects such as the Emfuleni intervention project and Mzimvubu Water Project. The Departments of Finance, Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation must put measures in place to top slice the municipal grants to service the debt owed to the Department and its entities before the grants are paid to Municipalities. Municipal employees must be required, as is the case with other public servants, to undergo compulsory training so that they are equipped to manage our resources. Review of the tendering process.We will review our tendering process. Revival of the DWS’ construction unit who will, together with members of the construction industry, establish maintenance task teams and attend to much needed maintenance intervention, especially in the water treatment and recycling stock. Request to Cabinet to declare all major dams national key points. An intensive campaign to digitise all its stock holdings, data and documentation. part of protecting resources and preventing damage and neglect. New regulations on the conservation of water. Appointment of river, dams and sewerage inspectors from 1 August 2019. There was, according to the FSE’s recollection, no reference to: The long term management of acid mine water (the fact that AMD will continue to be produced long after the closure of gold and coal mines and the fact that continuous pumping of underground mine water is a pre-requisite); The establishment of the 7 non-operational CMAs; and The compliance status by the DWS of the directives by the South African Human Rights Commission inter alia: The DRDLR (together with the DWS) are directed to take steps to translate existing guidelines regarding the provision of water on privately owned land into policy to ensure that basic protections in law regarding access to water are capable of being evaluated and enforced. The DMR (together with the DEA and the DWS) must, respectively, include in their annual reports the number of compliance notices or other sanctions imposed, including the proportion of successful interventions and or criminal prosecutions undertaken against non-compliance. The DEA (together with the DWS) are directed to take definite steps to ensure legal protection of our water source areas through, inter alia, the use of section 24(2A) of NEMA the inclusion of a specific provision that provides that the Minister of Water and Sanitation has the power to restrict or prohibit the grant of water use licences in water sources areas alongside the use of a host of legal tools, including section 26(g) of the Regulations of the National Water Act, section 49 of the MPRDA, management tools in terms of Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act, 43 of 1983 (CARA) and SPLUMA, Environmental Management Frameworks, and any further tools available. A further provision that should be applicable, includes declarations in terms of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act, 10 of 2004, of water source areas as threatened ecosystems. The DWS is directed to provide a report on the current state of water use monitoring. The Report should include: Mechanisms in place to conduct regular determination of the water reserve, including how the DWS accounts for anticipated migration and population growth, limitations or inadequacies in municipal-infrastructure as well as other potential impacts on the availability of water resources, such as drought; An audit of all existing WULs to ensure they adequately protect the water reserve, including basic needs and ecological requirements; Steps taken to monitor compliances with WULs and its impacts, particularly in mining areas; and The impact mining has and will have on the water reserve and how this aligns with the National Strategic Plan for Water.
2019 Status Report: Continuation of the Integrated Vaal River System Reconciliation strategy Study (Phase 2)
The report by the Department of Water and Sanitation is attached for download.
Summary of water quantity and quality challenges within the Vaal River system grounded upon the information which was presented by the Department of Water and Sanitation's Directorate: National water resource planning to the strategy steering Committee (SSC) for the continuation of the integrated Vaal River system. Reconciliation Strategy Guide – PHASE 2 attached for download.
ABOUT OUR PROPERTY RIGHTS COVERAGE This story is part of , our new website shining a light on land & property rights around the world. Access to water is a hot topic in South Africa - and a growing number of countries hit by climate change, burgeoning populations and poor governance By Kim Harrisberg Faeces in the kitchen: South Africans call for better sewage systems by Kim Harrisberg | @KimHarrisberg | Thomson Reuters Foundation Thursday, 21 March 2019 07:59 GMT JOHANNESBURG, March 21 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Raw excrement, condoms and sanitary products regularly spill into homes and parks, South Africans said ahead of Friday's World Water Day - just some of about 4.5 billion people globally without safe sanitation, promised for all by 2030. Residents are lobbying for urgent rehabilitation of sewage works by South Africa's Department of Water and Sanitation, widely criticised for lack of investment, non-payment of contractors, poor revenue collection, water theft and leakage. "We have had water flowing into our street and home for the last three years," Heather Crosley, who lives in South Africa's biggest city, Johannesburg, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. "When it rains heavily, the manhole lids blows off; sewage rushes down the road and sometimes comes into our kitchen. We have found condoms, tampons and faeces in our kitchen on more than one occasion." Under global development goals agreed in 2015, governments pledged to provide access to water and sanitation for all by 2030. But three in 10 people worldwide do not have a water source free from faecal and chemical contamination. The spokesman for the water department, Sputnik Ratau, said setting up an independent regulator to improve management was "paramount", although he did not have a specific timeline. "The Ministry and Department are seized with the work of ensuring this comes to pass," he said. Access to water is a hot topic in South Africa - and a growing number of countries hit by climate change, burgeoning populations and poor governance - as drought last year triggered warnings that Cape Town's taps could run dry. In Johannesburg's Soweto township, residents often see untreated waste water and excrement flow into tributaries that lead to the Vaal River, one of the country's main water sources. "In Snake Park, sewage is currently flowing into a community-built park so the children have nowhere safe to play," said community activist Tiny Dlamini. Untreated water can cause diarrhea and cholera, which can be fatal, particularly for children. About 56 percent of South Africa's waste water treatment works are in a poor or critical state, said Mariette Liefferink, head of the Federation for a Sustainable Environment, which campaigns against water pollution caused by mining. "This is a perfect storm of mismanagement that currently impacts 14 million South Africans without access to decent sanitation," said Christine Colvin, a water expert with the World Wide Fund for Nature South Africa. (Reporting by Kim Harrisberg @kimharrisberg, Editing by Katy Migiro. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking, property rights, and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org
THE FSE PRESENTED ON INVITATION TO THE SOUTH AFRICAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISION ON THE POLLUTION OF THE VAAL. ATTACHED ARE THE PRESENTATIONS.
SUMMARY OF WATER RELATED CHALLENGES IN SOUTH AFRICA 2018 INTRODUCTION This summary was compiled by the Federation for a Sustainable Environment (FSE) grounded upon its involvement as member of the various organs of state’s project steering committees, study steering committees, expert steering committees, advisory committees, task teams, forums, etc. since and prior to its inauguration in 2007.
WATER ISSUES: Continuation of the Integrated Vaal River System Reconciliation Strategy Study (PHASE 2). The FSE is a member of the Strategy Steering Committee and actively participated in the meeting on the 27th of February, 2018.
WRITTEN SUBMISSION ON THE DRAFT 2.6: NATIONAL WATER AND SANITATION MASTER PLAN (NW&SMP) In this document, the Federation for a Sustainable Environment (“FSE”) submits comments on the National Water and Sanitation Master Plan, draft 2.6 (the “draft plan”). THE FSE: The FSE is a federation of community based civil society organisations committed to the realisation of the constitutional right to an environment that is not harmful to health or well-being, and to having the environment sustainably managed and protected for future generations. Their mission is specifically focussed on addressing the adverse impacts of mining and industrial activities on the lives and livelihoods of vulnerable and disadvantaged communities who live and work near South Africa’s mines and industries. In accordance with the above-mentioned mission, the FSE’s comments are limited to matters pertaining to the mining industry. The FSE’s comments will be substantiated by real examples within the scope of the FSE’s experience and our active participation in a significant number of environmental impacts assessments, environmental management programme reports, water use license applications, environmental authorisations, steering committees, forums, task teams, teams of experts, academic research groups, boards, etc. over a period of 15 (fifteen years).  Kindly note that the Legal Resources Centre assisted with this publication.
Invitation by the DWS to participate in a working session regarding the draft National Water and Sanitation Master Plan: to be held on 2 February 2018 at the DBSA Conference Centre
The following preliminary comments on the National Water and Sanitation Master Plan (NW&SMP) are submitted on behalf of the Federation for Sustainable Environment (FSE). The FSE is a federation of community based civil society organisations committed to the realisation of the constitutional right to an environment that is not harmful to health or well-being, and to having the environment sustainably managed and protected for future generations. Their mission is specifically focussed on addressing the adverse impacts of mining and industrial activities on the lives and livelihoods of vulnerable and disadvantaged communities who live and work near South Africa’s mines and industries. In accordance with the above-mentioned mission, the FSE’s comments are limited to matters pertaining to the mining industry. The FSE’s comments will be substantiated by real examples within the scope of the FSE’s experience and our active participation in a significant number of environmental impacts assessments, environmental management programme reports, water use license applications, environmental authorisations, steering committees, forums, task teams, teams of experts, academic research groups, boards, etc. over a period of 15 (fifteen years). The FSE, with the support and representation of the Legal Resource Centre (LRC), is currently in the process of preparing additional comments on the NW&SMP. In view of the aforesaid, we respectfully request allowance to refine and augment our preliminary comments.
THE POTENTIAL to create 100 climate jobs and to help : bring a "dead river system" back to life -that's the rationale behind a proposed pilot project to heal one of Gauteng's most heavily polluted river systems, the Tweelopiespruit, which has been contaminated by more than a century of mining.
SOUTH Africans have to "change their mindsets" that they can't drink acid mine drainage (AMD).
The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) has used a "sledgehammer" for its R1bn treatment plant for acid mine drainage (AMD) on the Eastern mining basin that could ultimately create more toxic water. This is the view of water strategy and consulting mining hydrologist Kym Morton, who believes government is "wasting money" by pumping large volumes of water and adding lime that makes it alkaline but still toxic and hazardous.
Focus on preventing illness rather than incurring the expense of treatment.
In the Midvaal suburb where Sipho Mosai lives, the gardens are lush and green because the sprinklers run all day. There's little sense of alarm at the fast-declining water levels in the Vaal water system after which the suburb is named.
The Federation for a Sustainable Environment has objected to the Water Use Licence granted to Sedibelo Platinum Mine within the Moses Kotane Local Municipality, North West Province. An extract from the objection follows, and the full document is available to download.
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