Nahoon Estuary to sue government over pollution
The Committee of the Nahoon Estuary Management Forum has sought legal advice on how to force the government to act swiftly against a privately owned and dysfunctional Maldives Group Housing Development pump station in Beacon Bay, along the N2, which is said to be a health risk.
The forum alleges that the station has not been working for the past two to three years resulting in about 30 000 litres of raw sewerage ending up in the stormwater system of the N2 and eventually in the Nahoon River Estuary daily.
When the Eastern Cape Rising Sun visited the pump station, we found open pumps spilling sewage and sanitary pads into the open field right next to the station.
At close inspection, there are more pumps that come from the various households that lead to nowhere.
A board at the entrance of the neighbourhood states that there is a Maldives Home Owners Association and that the area is managed by Trafalgar Property Management. However, Trafalgar is no longer the company managing the properties at Maldives for close to two years.
According to Samkelo Ngwenya, spokesperson for BCMM, the Homeowners Association does not exist anymore, in contravention of development approval conditions and the developer is reported to have left the country.
“The challenge is that Buffalo City Metro is not responsible for the pump station, as they don’t own it, nor the land where it is located in. We, therefore, cannot spend municipal funds on the privately owned pump station. The issue is, therefore, a non-compliance with development approval conditions, which should be dealt with at a level of enforcement of municipal bylaws and environmental protection. Alternatively, the municipality should negotiate taking over the pump station from the private developer,” he explained.
He added that, according to the National Environmental Management Act 107 of 1998 everyone has the right to have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations, through reasonable legislative and other measures that prevent pollution and ecological degradation; promote conservation; and secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development.
“As the environment is a functional area of concurrent national and provincial legislative competence, and all spheres of government and all organs of state must co-operate with, consult and support one another. The law should be enforced by the State and that law should facilitate the enforcement of environmental laws by civil society,” said Ngwenya.
Christo Estuart, chairperson of the Forum said, “At this stage, we are not sure who to take to court. Our attorneys are looking into the matter. Once it has been decided, we will file papers with the High Court. This situation cannot be allowed to continue unabated, especially in the view of the present levels of pollution in the Estuary. We will give the people responsible 30 days to remedy the situation before we go to the courts.”
The Forum argues that short term and long-term solutions must be found to bring the levels of pollution of the Nahoon Estuary to acceptable levels for recreational use and to ensure that the Estuary does not present a health risk to the many people that enjoy it.