The deputy president of South Africa visited Kroonstad last week to investigate the state of affairs at the sewage treatment plant and the town’s general water reticulation network.
Due to the dysfunctionality of the sewage treatment plant, raw sewage has been flowing directly into the Vals River, and eventually into the Vaal River, for years.
Since the early 2000s, various political parties and community structures have lodged complaints and laid criminal charges against the Moqhaka Municipality, to no avail.
David Mabuza visited Kroonstad in his capacity as deputy president on Friday (10/09), assuring stakeholders and concerned citizens during a brief meeting that the presidency was fully aware of the pollution problems in and around Kroonstad. He arrived late, but promised to visit Kroonstad again this Friday (17/09) to discuss the situation with community stakeholders.
According to Senzo Mchunu, minister of Water and Sanitation, an urgent virtual meeting to discuss the crisis was to be held between relevant parties on Monday (13/09). Sisi Ntombela, Free State premier, and Mpho Chakane, mayor of Moqhaka, were expected to attend the meeting.
Mchunu and various delegates paid an oversight visit to the Kroonstad sewage treatment plant on Friday. Both Mabuza and Mchunu confirmed that funds would be made available for the repair of the sewage works in Kroonstad.
Businessman and delegate of the Concerned Citizens of Kroonstad, Spiro Khoury, handed Mabuza documentation regarding the sewage problems, as well as a plan that could be implemented to resolve the crisis, using local expertise.
Over the weekend the presidency sent a confirmation email that the documents had been received. A copy of the documentation was given to Deputy Minister David Mahlobo, who assured the community that immediate action would be taken.
Ntombela said that the situation was unacceptable. Sewage problems in Kroonstad have worsened since 2016, when the treatment plant was upgraded for an amount of R39 million.