Emfuleni residents urged to boil water due to sewer contamination

Another water crisis has hit Emfuleni Local Municipality. Picture: Itumeleng English African News Agency (ANA)

Another water crisis has hit Emfuleni Local Municipality. Picture: Itumeleng English African News Agency (ANA)

Published Apr 2, 2024


Another water crisis has hit Emfuleni Local Municipality. The municipality has urged its residents to boil water before consumption, after reported sewage contamination.

The crisis in the area is said to be prevalent in some parts of the Vaal area including Sebokeng Zone 7, Palm Springs, Beverly Hills, Lakeside and Everton.

Media reports say technicians believe a collapsed sewer pipeline is the cause of the contamination with the municipality indicating that it will shut water supply to all the affected areas to allow for further investigations.

Spokesperson for the municipality, Makhosonke Sangweni, has told the SABC that it has advised residents to boil water before consumption.

“We have given 48 hours to try and fix the problem. We are currently distributing water through our water tankers to the affected areas. And we are hoping that by the end of the day today, we would have restored healthy water.”

Yesterday, the municipality issued a warning to its residents with Madoda Besani, chief director at the municipality, saying the municipality is conducting tests to determine the extent of contamination.

Speaking to Newzroom Afrika, Besani said the municipality received reports of possible water contamination on March 28, which is why they are still conducting tests.

“We received a report of possible water contamination on the 28th of March, 2024. As a result of that, we acted immediately to send our teams there and take out communication to the affected residents.

“The first result from Rand Water shows that there was possible contamination and we then stepped up and informed the residents that they should not use water for consumption or in extreme cases, they will have to boil the water before consumption,” he said.

This is not the first time the municipality has had to deal with a similar crisis.

In 2021, the “Sunday Independent” reported that Emfuleni, which was placed under administration in 2018 due to financial mismanagement and lack of service delivery, owed R1.3 billion to Rand Water and R3.2bn to Eskom.

Also in 2021, some residents were forced to use polluted water, with some reported to have experienced water shortages since November 2020.

This week, the DA, through its constituency head Kingsol Chabalala, accused the embattled municipality of having spent over R55m in a legal dispute with an employee over unfair labour practices relating to benefits on acting allowance.

Chabalala said all of this is happening while residents suffer from a constant shortage of water, poor refuse collection and persistent power outages.

“The cash-strapped Emfuleni Local Municipality is struggling to deliver services to its residents, and it is unacceptable that it is spending such staggering sums of money to fight one labour dispute when the Labour Court has already ordered it to pay R739 551.42.The return on investment for the Emfuleni ratepayer on this out-of-control spending is non-existent,” Chabalala said.

The Star

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