Editor

Editor

National Planning Commission Releases the National Water Security Framework

 

In September 2015 the President announced the appointment of the second National Planning Commission (NPC). This second NPC was appointed to, amongst others, promote, advance and monitor the implementation of the National Development Plan (NDP) 2030 by government and across all sectors of South African society. The NPC conducts regular engagements with key stakeholders and wider society on all matters pertaining to the long-term development of the country.

As part of the ongoing work of the NPC to consult and advise on the implementation of the NDP, the NPC has developed a draft National Water Security Framework (NWSF) as means of ensuring a water secure country and as a response to South Africa’s water challenges.

 

About the Discussion on the National Water Security Framework:

 

In the current decade, water crises have been identified as being among the top global risks in terms of their adverse societal and economic impacts. In South Africa, given the unfavourable hydro-climatic conditions, apartheid vestiges, and national developmental imperatives, a water crisis would have undesirable consequences – particularly for the poorer sections of the population. In pursuit of a ‘virtuous cycle of growth and development’ as espoused in the National Development Plan Vision 2030, water security has been identified amongst the key pillars. It is within this context, that the NPC was mandated to lead a process of developing and finalising the National Water Security Framework on behalf of the NPC in the context of the NDP 2030.

The draft National Water Security Framework has been approved by NPC for public input and further stakeholder engagement. The aim of the National Water Security Framework is to develop a comprehensive framework that will provide a set of concepts, approaches and commitments that the country can use to safeguard the security of availability, access and supply for basic human needs while acknowledging the importance of other water uses. Follow the link to access the paper: National Water Security Framework or find it attached at the bottom of this article for download.

We encourage organisations/individuals to share the paper with colleagues and any other relevant organisations in their networks.

Stakeholder consultation process has now commenced across the country to solicit inputs towards the finalisation of the framework. Interested organisations and individuals are invited to attend. The stakeholder consultation dates are as follows:

  • 07 August 2019, Port Elizabeth, Nelson Mandela Municipality City Hall, Vuyisile Mini Square (Govan Mbeki Street)
  • 12 August 2019, Northern Cape, Venue to be confirmed
  • 19 August 2019, Western Cape, Venue to be confirmed
  • 30 August 2019, Gauteng, Venue to be confirmed

 

Written submissions,  can be send to the NPC by writing to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by 30 August 2019.

Issued by: The National Planning Commission

Monday, 29 July 2019 16:29

Report for June/July 2019

The full report covering the June/July activity is 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:

  1. 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);
  2. The establishment of the 7 non-operational CMAs; and
  3. 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.

Background information document for coal, pseudocoal & torbornite mining right application, integrated water use license application and environmental authorisation, all portions (excluding portion 46, 74,& 90) of the farm Tenbosch 162 JU, all portions (excluding portion 01) of the farm Vyeboom 414 JU, all portions of the farm Turfbult 593 JU and all portions of the farm Tecklenburg's Ranch 548 JU, in the Magisterial district of Barberton, Mpumalanga Province. 

Document attached for download.

Attached is a document compiled by the FSE for the Environmental authorisation process for the Middlevlei mine, Randfontein. 

Thursday, 11 July 2019 16:43

SA Mining Articles

The following related articles are attached:

  • Environmental Compliance: Are government and industry doing enough?
  • Mynhuis sal Potch se drinkwater vernietig
  • Hair-raising uranium levels found

 

Thursday, 11 July 2019 10:08

Jozi Gold Official Trailer

Jozi Gold - a story of wealth, greed and poisonous mountains. Johannesburg has produced a third of all gold mined in history. Now the gold is running out, the mines are falling apart and toxic waste turns water into poison. Former Jehovah’s Witness Mariette Liefferink is on a mission to force the mine bosses to clean up.

Directors Fredrik Gertten and Sylvia Vollenhoven, based on an original story by Adam Welz.

Official trailer with English titles.

View here.

The Federation for a Sustainable Environment with its close links to the communities, has aided the IARC to identify barber shops in each ward serving local customers of both sexes (except in Azaadville, where the chosen barber turned out to serve only men) and to collect 1600 samples of human hair.

 

The IARC has launched the results on its website. View them here.

The full report is attached for download.

Page 9 of 20

MINING

BASEL GOLD DAY - HOW TO OBTAIN CLEAN GOLD: THE FSE'S PRESENTATION

Please find the following attached for download: 1. Basel Gold Day: How to obtain clean gold - the consumer perspective 2. Basel Gold Day: Presentation by the FSE

PROPOSED ARTISANAL MINING POLICY - DMRE'S PRESENTATION AND FSE'S SUBMISSION

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SA NEWS

FSE - DONATION OF TREES AND TREE PLANTING IN SIMUNYE, WEST RAND IN ASSOCIATION WITH SOUTH DEEP MINE

The FSE, in association with Gold Fields’ South Deep Mine, donated 40 white Karee Trees (Searsia penduline) during Arbor Week to the mining affected community of Simunye in the West Rand and participated in the tree planting ceremony with the community of Simunye, the local Municipality and officials from South Deep Mine.  The FSE also delivered a presentation during the ceremony.

"Varkies" gou op hok, maar als nie pluis | Beeld

Article also available for download as an attachment.

Radon Alert - Carte Blanche

Millions of South Africans are exposed to radioactive radon gas in their homes and workplaces every day, as the naturally occurring gas escapes through cracks in the earth. The second leading cause of lung cancer in several countries, radon breaks down and when inhaled, decaying atoms emit alpha radiation that can damage the DNA. There are no safe levels of radon concentration. The United States Environmental Protection Agency emphasises any radon exposure has some risk of causing lung cancer. Carte Blanche investigates why South Africa has no regulations to protect against radon accumulation in the home and what you can do to test your home and prevent lung cancer.   Watch the video here.

WITS Economics & Finance Courses: Mining for Development: The Taxation Linkage

Economics & Finance Courses at the University of the Witwatersrand. Mining for Development: The Taxation Linkage - Understand taxation for development and sustainability in mining. View the course here. Enrolment starts on the 7th of October 2019.

WATER

The Federation for a Sustainable Environment’s ongoing role in addressing the sewage pollution in the Vaal River

‘People the same as pigs’ in the VaalBy Sheree Bega | 16 Oct 2020 Foul: Pigs root in sludge in Emfuleni municipality. (Photos: Delwyn Verasamy/M&G) Clutching her one-year-old son, Monica Ndakisa jumps onto a brick to avoid the sewage that runs like a dark stain across the passage in her home.  “We’ve lived like this for years,” she says pointing to one of the culprits: her blocked toilet, which causes sewage to pool into nearly every room of her home in Sebokeng hostel in the Vaal. “The smell is too terrible.” It’s worse outside. Her small garden is submerged in a sickly, grey sewage swamp. To stop the human waste from seeping inside, Ndakisa has built a concrete barrier at her front door. But it’s futile. “My five-year-old son was in the hospital for two weeks with severe eczema and they told me it’s because of all this sewage. It makes us cough all the time. It’s so depressing to live like this.” Samson Mokoena, of the Vaal Environmental Justice Alliance (Veja), shakes his head. “It’s chaos. You can’t allow people to live in such conditions. The government is playing with our people.” Ndakisa’s neighbour, Maphelo Apleni, has used pipes to divert the stream of sewage from his garden. “It never stops,” he says grimly. “We have a municipality [Emfuleni] that doesn’t care about us.” Mziwekaya Mokwana points at a sewage-filled furrow clogged with litter where pigs are feeding. “This is no better life,” he says. “People are the same as pigs here.” Sewage in Vaal River system  Last month, the human settlements, water and sanitation department said it would take at least another three years to minimise and eventually stop the sewage flowing into the Vaal River system. In a recent presentation, it states how “design treatment capacity is at its limit, housing development investments are delayed and there are negative environmental and health impacts”. Ageing infrastructure is to blame for sewage spillages, coupled “with a lack of operation and maintenance investment” as well as theft and vandalism.  It will cost about R2.2-billion “to have a sustainable impact on the Vaal River catchment within Emfuleni local municipality”. The department’s plan aims to safeguard infrastructure; repair the bulk network to eliminate spillages, key and critical pump stations and rising mains; refurbish wastewater treatment works “in an attempt to comply with discharge licence conditions”; and achieve operation and maintenance requirements. But Maureen Stewart, the vice-chairperson of Save the Vaal (Save) is sceptical. She says there is no political will to tackle the crisis. “These problems go back over 12 yearsand reached crisis proportions when the system collapsed in 2018. The result is some 200 million litres of raw or partially treated sewage entering the Vaal River and its tributaries daily.” Stewart warns that it’s an ecological disaster that also affects agriculture and has serious health implications for people living above and below the Vaal Barrage Reservoir, which is 64km long and used to supply Johannesburg with water but is now too polluted to do so.   She says the Emfuleni municipality has been under Gauteng’s administration since mid-2018 and, despite promises, the status quo remains — unbridled sewage pollution of the Vaal River and Emfuleni.  “The Ekurhuleni Water Care Company (Erwat) was appointed to take over in 2019 and were given funding and spent R179-million. Their contribution was to unblock pipes and remove 50 tons of rubbish from the system. This opened the pipes but, as the pump stations and the three wastewater treatment plants remain dysfunctional, there has been no improvement. Raw sewage continues to flow into the Vaal River and into the streets of Emfuleni.”  Monica Ndakisa sweeps overspill from her toilet. There was a “glimmer of hope” when Minister, Lindiwe Sisulu, visited the Vaal in January this year, assuring Save that action will be taken and that funds are earmarked in the 2020-2021 budget.  “It seems her enthusiasm has not filtered down to her department,” says Stewart. “After Erwat’s contract was not renewed, the department stated they would undertake the repairs by appointing their own contractors. Tender documents have been languishing on someone’s desk at the department since July.” Sputnik Ratau, spokesperson for the department, says the government has committed resources towards solving the sewage problem in the Vaal.  “Government sent state institutions to assist Emfuleni local municipality (ELM) in this regard; these include SANDF and Erwat. Recently, the department finalised the scope of all that needs to be done to solve the sewage problem. There are 26 work packages that will be advertised in the coming weeks for competent contractors to take part in solving the sewage challenge in the Vaal.”  The department, says Ratau, aims to have a “busy festive season” working with the appointed contractors. “In the 2020/21 financial year, the department has committed R911-million towards solving this challenge. The total investment by the department in 2020/21 financial year is R1.2-billion in the Vaal; this includes the building of additional wastewater treatment capacity and associated pump stations.” Maphelo Apleni installs pipes to drain sewage out of his garden. Before the end of the financial year Module 6 in Sebokeng water care works will be launched, “subject to no community unrest disrupting construction”. The department, Ratau says, has to take all necessary precautions to ensure that section 217 of the constitution is followed as far as procurement is concerned.  “Thus the departmental checks and balances had to be followed to the letter to ensure compliance with procurement processes. This unfortunately caused delays but was necessary.” Within the next month the department aims to advertise for all the contractors “that can assist in this challenge”. Ratau says commitment dates, including start and completion dates, “will be sent not only to Save but all interested stakeholders once the contractors are appointed. The department cannot preempt this before the appointments are made.” He says that R7-billion is required to “solve the pollution challenge in ELM. This needs to be coupled with operations and maintenance, which is a function of ELM at local government level”. Save is once again taking the government to court to enforce legislation to ensure infrastructure is repaired within phased completion dates and that sufficient funds are made available for ongoing maintenance and operation of the system by the municipality, supervised by the high court.   Veja’s Mokoena is glad the department is taking over the Vaal clean-up. “This situation was supposed to be fixed a long time ago. So much money has been squandered at the municipal level.” Rand Water’s delay Eight months. That’s how long it took Rand Water to release public water quality records for the Vaal Barrage system to a team of aquatic specialists investigating the ecological health of the river system.  In January, Aquatic Ecosystems of Africa submitted a Promotion of Access to Information Act (Paia) application to Rand Water for access to its water quality analysis data for the Vaal Barrage and downstream since 2015.  Nothing happened, it says, until Tshepang Sebulela, the Paia compliance officer from the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) intervened late last month.  New pipelines are being installed in the Vaal. In an email to Rand Water, Sebulela noted how the multiple requests for records by Aquatic Ecosystems and the Federation for a Sustainable Environment have allegedly been ignored, which in terms of Paia are deemed refusals.  “The SAHRC is greatly concerned by a large number of public institutions who provide such important services to the public who refuse to meet their basic legislative obligations,” he wrote. The records landed in the firm’s inbox on 2 October.  Aquatic Systems’ Simone Liefferink says sourcing surface water system data is becoming increasingly difficult. “It’s disturbing the data is not adequately managed, readily accessible to the public and private sectors who pay tax and other water charges for effective catchment management to be implemented.”  Rand Water did not explain the reason behind the delay.  That the information was provided in a PDF format of almost 2 000 pages “frustrates and delays” its interpretation, says Liefferink.  She and her partner, Russell Tate, began their investigation after a major fish kill in the Vaal River in mid-2018. That September they testified at the HRC’s inquiry into the contamination of the Vaal River that high levels of ammonia from the wastewater treatment works was wiping out life in the river system. A snap-shot analysis of the data provided by Rand Water shows high levels of E coli, ammonium and ammonia — key indicators of sewage pollution. Average E coli counts soared from 12 705 colony-forming units per 100ml in 2010 to more than 107 000 in 2018 and 66 923 in 2020.  “The contributing factor is clear — dysfunctional sewage treatment conveyances and treatment plants. More disturbing is the long-standing deterioration of the system that ever increases the loss of biodiversity and other essential ecological functions and human services. Yet this matter is still not treated with extreme urgency,” says Liefferink. HRC’s long-awaited report It’s taken nearly two years for the Human Rights Commission to release its report into the Emfuleni sewage crisis. “Their report has not yet been taken to parliament, nor has it been published. Why?” asks Save’s Stewart. Buang Jones, the Gauteng manager of the HRC, says the provincial report has been finalised.  “It’s with the commissioners now for final adoption and approval. Once it’s been approved, it will be shared with implicated parties and they’ll have 10 days to comment. This is a countrywide issue and the report seeks to address broader challenges when it comes to river pollution and wastewater management,” he says.  Read the original article here.

POLLUTION OF THE VAAL RIVER INTERVENTION AS PRESENTED at Rietspruit Forum - Aug 2020

The Intervention document is attached for download....

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