Progress with Vaal River clean-up


Tumelo Gopane, managing director of East Rand Water Care Company (ERWAT), says steady progress is being made with the Vaal River clean-up project.

Giving an update to the Water and Sanitation Minister, Gopane said a number of waste water networks in Vereeniging were cleared, resulting in an increase of water flow to waste water treatment plants.

“Before unblocking the sewage systems, only 20% of waste water could reach treatment plants and 80% would be lost to spillage,” Gopane said.

Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation, Lindiwe Sisulu, visited the Vaal River Intervention Project in Emfuleni. She said her department is working to ensure spillage in the Vaal River does not happen again.

“It has taken us a long time to get to this point, as we know the problem of spillage has been going on for an extended period. I would like to assure the community and South Africa government is committed to doing things differently and to ensure people live in dignity,” Sisulu said.

She appealed to the local community to protect their infrastructure and ensure there is no vandalism. She emphasised the importance of all stakeholders in the Vaal River Intervention Project contributing to ensure the success of the project.

The business community committed to working with project leaders and Vaal community to ensure the intervention succeeds.

Gopane appealed to communities not to throw foreign objects in waste water pipelines. He called on Emfuleni Local Municipality to enforce existing and updated by-laws and to educate communities o, the gravity of disposing unwanted objects in the sewage system.

A follow up meeting is expected to be held in June, where ERWAT will provide details on progress.

About the project

ERWAT, a government entity specialising in wastewater treatment, was appointed to take over and build on the progress started with the deployment of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) between December 2018 and November 2019.

Ten contractors were appointed and 117 local people from Emfuleni were employed on the project.