Minister sets a deadline - again

Water Affairs Minister Edna Molewa waded through the sewage in January to view the pumps at Hartbeespoort Dam.

The Minister inspected sewage pump stations, finding broken pumps at two of the stations. Mayor Sophie Molokoane-Machika excused the disrepair, blaming staff shortages. Technically qualified people are "being interviewed" by Madibeng. The Minister was also informed that regular cable theft aggravated the problem.

The Hartebeespoort Dam, a significant feature in the Magaliesberg Biosphere, has been "hypertrophic" - contains excessive nutrients - for decades. The dam receives 90% of its inflow from the Crocodile River, which in turn is fed downstream by the Hennops and Jukskei Rivers. These rivers are highly polluted, and the number of functional habitat types and species is low. Five of the six rivers feeding the dam are classified "poor" in the River Health Categorisation.

At the end of October 2010, then Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Buyelwa Sonjica, told residents they would get clean water for Christmas. She referred to the refurbishment of two water treatment plants that had collapsed under the strain of delivering clean water to the Madibeng municipality.
Sonjica made a commitment that her department will move fast in addressing the matter, setting a three-month time-frame to resolve it. During Minister Molewa's visit, she set a six month deadline to have the pumps working.

Minister Molewa has a history with the dam - she was Premier of the North West Province. Her congratulatory message prefaces the province's Environmental Management Series (of reports), which includes a chapter on "Dam Remediation".
The report from 2005 gives context to the water problems at Hartbeespoort dam, beyond the raw sewage.

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