After pointing out a number of alleged breaching of permits at marine outfall sites, ActionSA has called on the national government to take action against the City.
In an open letter to Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) Minister Barbara Creecy, ActionSA provincial chairperson Michelle Wasserman said they had appealed against the issuing of permits that authorise the City to discharge untreated sewage into the three outfall sites in Marine Protected Areas in Cape Town at Camps Bay, Green Point, and Hout Bay.
Mayco member for water and sanitation Zahid Badroodien, previously confirmed that the City continued to operate the marine outfalls with current permits and licence conditions “as issued by the Department of Water and Sanitation/DFFE”.
Earlier this year, Creecy reversed a permit the City was granted, saying the public participation process previously conducted by the City was “inadequate, outdated and should be redone”.
A fresh public participation process which the City undertook concluded on November 21.
Wasserman said: “As you deliberate on the issuance of the permits, it is crucial that you take into account the fact that the City has not complied with the requirements of the Hout Bay permit, issued to the City on 7 May 2019 … Information about the City’s lack of compliance with the requirements of the Hout Bay permit was obtained by means of a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) request, which was submitted to the City, asking for records showing their compliance with each of the conditions contained in the Hout Bay permit.
“According to the ‘Hout Bay Flows’ document provided by the City in its PAIA response, in the six-month period from 1 January 2023 to 30 June 2023, the maximum daily discharge volume was exceeded on 104 days in that six-month period. In other words, the maximum daily discharge volume was exceeded 57% of the time. The daily discharge volume sometimes doubled the prescribed limit, reaching up to 12.5m3 in a single day (on 14 June 2023).”
Wasserman also accused Badroodien of “dissemination of misinformation” in that he asserted that the City was “not obligated to adhere to the stipulations of the 2019 Hout Bay permit due to its filing of an appeal against that permit’s issuance”.
Badroodien denied the allegations.
“ActionSA’s allegations are incorrect. The Hout Bay outfall is operating well within its 9.8 ML/day design capacity. The Hout Bay outfall has further been awarded Green Drop Certification by the national Department of Water and Sanitation for achieving above 90% compliance on overall Green Drop Score compliance.”
“The draft permit conditions currently being considered by the Minister contain erroneous reference to a condition of 5 ML/day discharge limit for the Hout Bay outfall, and the City has requested this to be corrected before the updated permit is granted by the minister.”
Enquiries to the DFFE were not answered by deadline on Thursday.