Water complaints flood human rights commission

The SA Human Rights Commission has received over 100 complaints relating to water contamination and supply in two years. (Oupa Nkosi, M&G)

The SA Human Rights Commission has received over 100 complaints relating to water contamination and supply in two years. (Oupa Nkosi, M&G)

"Inadequate water and sanitation facilities impact on the realisation of other rights such as education, health, work and dignity," SAHRC spokesperson Isaac Mangena told the Sunday Independent.

One complaint was from residents in Louis Trichardt, in Limpopo, who were without water for 27 days.

"Hospitals can't clean equipment. Hairdressers cannot wash hair; shopping centres close their toilets. Sewage is flowing constantly in the street," Soutpansberg Ratepayers' Association member Inga Gilfillan was quoted as saying.

Vhembe District Municipality manager Masala Makumule acknowledged that ageing water system was causing problems.

"Louis Trichardt has grown massively.
Such a scheme was meant for a smaller town."

Another complaint was from Riviersonderend residents, who told the SAHRC their water was polluted.

The area's ratepayers association chairperson Clive Sandenberg said the flocculant used to settle silt in the Sonderend river contained aluminium.

"The aluminium ends up in our drinking water. Prolonged exposure, longer than a year, has been implicated in chronic neurological disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer's," he told the newspaper.

It reported that Theewaterskloof Municipality spokesperson Stiffie Cronje said officials were unaware of any complaints, but would investigate.

The SAHRC is scheduled to hold a national hearing on water and sanitation this month. - Sapa

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