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Transforming Society

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Restoring Dignity

Army makes headway with Vaal River rehab

21 January 2019

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) says it is making headway with the Vaal River rehabilitation project.
Members of the SANDF were deployed last year to help clean up the river which is currently polluted by sewage. Communities affected by the pollution include Vereeniging, Sebokeng, Boipatong and Sharpeville.
In a statement on Thursday, the SANDF said it had deployed technical teams to restore infrastructure at the polluted Vaal River system caused by raw sewage flowing into the river from pump stations in the Emfuleni Municipality.
Other progress cited by the SANDF included the deployment of the SA Army Engineer Formation to the Emfuleni Municipal Area, as well as the drawing of the scope of work, which focuses on the upgrading of sewer treatment works and pump stations.
SANDF’s deployment to the project follows an announcement by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni during his Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement in October, in which he called on the force to assist in efforts to urgently rehabilitate the Vaal River system.
The South African Human Rights Commission has called the situation with the Vaal River a human rights crisis as a site inspection by the Commission revealed a prima facie violation of the rights of access to clean water, clean environment and human dignity.
The Vaal River supplies about 50% of Gauteng’s water.


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The Human Rights Commission is the national institution established to support constitutional democracy. It is committed to promote respect for, observance of and protection of human rights for everyone without fear or favour.

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