Poisoned: Tshwane’s boreholes, taps and soil

Theunis Vogel’s heavy boots sink into the moist earth as he trudges through his field of green mealies that reach past his elbows.

With a tired smile, the farmer speaks of how the recent rains have helped to wash off some of the sewage sludge that is poisoning his crops. But, on his farm in Vastfontein, north of Pretoria, the sewage contamination runs far and deep. 

“You can see some of the plants are not so lekker,” Vogel says. “Previously, the sewage sludge was lying on the mealies itself. You would peel the leaves and inside you could see that black sludge.”

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Sheree Bega
Sheree Bega is an environment reporter at the Mail & Guardian.

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