Mr Ramaphosa Declare the Vaal River System in Gauteng a Provincial Disaster NOW

Streets, homes, schools, offices and parks are awash with sewage. Not one of the Waste Water Treatment Works under the control of Emfuleni Local Municipality is fully operational resulting in over 100 million litres of raw sewage being pumped into the Vaal River system every single day. Most of the 44 sewage pump stations designed to lift the sewage to the treatment works are completely out of commission. Many sections of the  2600 kms of waste water pipes are broken and have been left unrepaired for weeks and months. The Army which was sent in to fix the problem does not have the funds or the expertise to complete the task. Mr President accord the people of Emfuleni the dignity and respect they deserve and declare the area a Provincial Disaster NOW.

Vaal River System Rehabilitation Project

The Vaal Army


The Vaal officially welcomed the SANDF and the Minister of Defence Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, into the area on Friday the 23rd November 2018.

This comes after Finance Minister Tito Mboweni, announced during his Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement in October 2018, that the Defence Force would be called on to assist in efforts to urgently rehabilitate the Vaal River system.

The purpose of the army’s 12 month deployment to the Vaal (till the 18th December 2019) – is to use their Engineering Corps to expedite the necessary remedial action needed at the  three Waste Water Plants (Sebokeng, Leeukuil and Rietspruit), the 44 pump stations and the almost 3,000km of networks – much of which is dysfunctional and in need of maintenance and repair.

This Engineering Corps have a reputation of implementing repairs quickly and decisively, without all the usual red tape that most municipal and governmental departments are burdened with.

The purpose of this website is to provide regular updated information, that can be accessed by all - to track the SANDF interventions, and to see how these translate into the rehabilitation of the Vaal River System and the reduction in the pollution in the Vaal River and region.  This  will be able to be accurately accessed by tracking the E.coil counts reflected in the 10 marker points along the Vaal River – which is  analysed weekly by Rand Water.


Click on the map below to enlarge.

SANDF Intervention in Emfuleni Local Municipality

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Published on April 10, 2019


On Friday April 5, when Water and Sanitation Minister Gugile Nkwinti visited Sebokeng, his response to the Vaal sewerage pollution crisis was to announce a budget of R341 million to address this.

According to Rosemary Cloete-Anderson, Managing Director of Stonehaven on Vaal and Chairperson of the Emfuleni Tourism Association, the minister said it would be managed by ERWAT (Ekuruleni’s water and sanitation entity/arm), and that the completion date for the project was March 2020, specifying that ”ERWAT will ensure that all waste water infrastructure is resuscitated to the operating state and that pollution in the Vaal River is stopped.

She further said that the summary of the SAHRC’s visit is that they saw very little positive change besides the cleaning of the PST’s (Primary Settling Tanks) by the army at Sebokeng wwtw and that some of the pump stations had been secured as had Sebokeng and Rietspruit wwtw from vandalism and theft point of view. “What the army has done was given recognition and thanks, however it was noted that the army have not been given the necessary funds and have so far, self-funded the work they have done. Unfortunately the major cleaning of the PST’s at Sebokeng wwtw, has not yet translated into an improvement in the lives of Vaal residents, since the PST’s have not been commissioned yet. On top of this, the sewerage network system is not under the SANDF’s mandate and this is the part of the sewerage system, that is the cause of the current sewerage spillages that plague so many residents with it entering their homes, streets and CBD’s. In fact, the SAHRC mentioned that the situation in this regard, had deteriorated further.” Firstly, because for several years now, the Sebideng Regional Sewer Scheme (SRSS) said a budget of R5 billion was needed to address the causes of our sanitation problems. The SRSS has DWS, Rand Water, Emfuleni, Metsi-a-Lekoa and other sanitation professionals are on this body.

Secondly, the same figure, was repeated in September last year when the lead Commissioner from the SAHRC asked the senior DWS official presenting on the Department’s behalf, as to how much it would cost to address all the areas that are currently causing the sewerage pollution in the Vaal. “He answered R5 billion. It was also mentioned that a number of years to action this remedial intervention – much longer than a year. “So I do not know if this means that poor ERWAT is being set up for failure, and I do not want to sound disrespectful to the minister, but there is absolutely no chance that “ERWAT will ensure that all waste water infrastructure is resuscitated to the operation state and that pollution in the Vaal River is stopped.”

“For there to be no more pollution in the Vaal River, means that there will be no more sewerage pollution in the whole of the Vaal – since any pollution from even further north than Evaton, all eventually ends up on our spruits, storm water drains and soil, which ends up in our Vaal River. For the record... I pray for the minister to prove me wrong! “In the meantime, we can only keep pressure on for Government to do the right thing and allocate the appropriate budget for the task at hand with the majority of the budget being managed by very capable Vaal specialist companies with Vaal employees, and not an entity from Ekurhuleni. The situation is a crisis and our Vaal area should be declared a disaster area for funds to be freed up urgently,” she concluded

Countdown until the Army's deployment ends

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@zozitunzi Well you are certainly the most beautiful of those 5!

@Eusebius For goodness sake grow up and get over your hangups Eusebius. You had better join #Imstaying and get a bit of positivity into your thinking!

@DWS_RSA Just another expensive joke at the expense of citizens who live with the stench of sewage, have to walk through it to get to work, can no longer fish in the rivers because they are so polluted. DWS get your act together and fix the problem. No more pontificating bureaucrats.

South Africa’s army is in a sorry state via @businesstechSA

@soeightiesgirl Transparencies! Do you remember dropping them all over the floor just before a presentation and scrambling to get them back in the right order??

WATCH | SANDF deployed to Vaal River Rehabilitation Project

Published on Dec 19, 2018