UPDATE: Ugu responds to Uvongo lagoon contamination

UPDATE: January 10

A RESPONSE regarding the DA’s claims on the Uvongo lagoon and river contamination has been received from Ugu District Municipality’s spokesman,  France Zama.

The email reads as follows:

“We are in the process of ascertaining the validity of these claims made however I must indicate that our physical investigations that were conducted showed no traces of sewage spillage from our system. And until a conclusive evidence of the source of contamination has been identified, we shall continue with our investigations in this regard. And as a municipality we are currently not in a position to make any comments on the purported criminal charges being laid against us until such charges are being brought before our attention accordingly.”

 

ORIGINAL STORY: January 9

AN hour’s search above Uvongo by ward councillor George Henderson and his colleagues last week revealed at least two sources where raw sewage probably flowed into the river system and lagoon over the festive season, possibly causing hundreds to fall violently ill.

Hospitals and doctors were inundated with patients suffering from vomiting and diarrhoea yet a message was circulated that this was due to a seasonal ‘bug’ doing the rounds countrywide. People were cautioned to be ‘more hygienic’.

Between this disaster and the sabotaged water system which affected about 100 000 people for days and weeks, this season has been a catastrophe for the coast.

One of the main leaks was reported to Ugu Municipality by another councillor, Paul Brauteseth, as early as November, but a tour of the site at Masinenge by the media this morning (Monday) showed evidence that this was only attended to at the weekend. Cllr Henderson suspected that this was only done after Ugu got wind of the on-site press briefing by the councillors today.

Meanwhile, Ugu Municipal Manager DD Naidoo reported to the Herald last week that his staff and officials from the Department of Water Affairs had searched the lagoon and river and could find no sign of any leakage.

He confirmed that tests had showed that the lagoon was ‘very, very highly contaminated’ and that it was possibly due to a mystery, once-off spill around about December 19 0r 20. He appealed to people to come forward with information that could help in their investigations.

Another problem was near the Uvongo Bowling Club which had apparently been reported to Ugu for years, yet nothing was ever done.

After the media tour, Cllr Henderson proceeded to the Margate Police Station to lay criminal charges of negligence against Ugu and the municipal manager personally as the accounting officer.

The Herald was not able to get comment from Mr Naidoo or Ugu prior to writing this article, but will continue trying and will post regular updates.

The full story will be thoroughly investigated and reported on in full in this week’s South Coast Herald.

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  AUTHOR
Bevis Fairbrother
Branch Manager

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