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:
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:
The recently published DWS’ State of the Rivers Report (2017-2018) found that:
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.
Watch the videos here.
Watch the video here.
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:
Issued by: The National Planning Commission
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 proposed interventions are inter alia:
There was, according to the FSE’s recollection, no reference to:
Appeal attached for download.
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
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
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
More than two decades ago, science advocate IsmailMore than two decades ago, science advocate IsmailSerageldin forewarned that “the wars of the next centurywill be fought over water, unless we change our approachto managing this precious and vital resource”. Thissentiment is perilously close for comfort for South Africa,whose water crisis is manifesting with dire consequences.Given that the country has done little in the recent past to rectifyits water challenges, it will soon pay the price, financially, socially andeconomically, says Mariette Liefferink, CEO of the Federation for aSustainable Environment (FSE).
The rest of the Document may be opened as a PDF document.