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Kgetlengrivier Concerned Citizens & Another v Kgetlengrivier Local Municipality & Others (Interim order & agreement between parties)

18 February 2021

Interim order of the High Court (North West Division) and amendment of the order as agreed between parties is available here.

This matter involved an urgent application by residents against municipal entities regarding the failure of the Municipality to provide adequate water and to prevent the Municipality from polluting two rivers with untreated sewage.

On 18 December 2020 Judge Gura ordered the Kgetlengrivier Local Municipality and its municipal manager to immediately stop discharging raw sewage into the Koster river and ordered that by allowing such pollution, the Municipality had contravened environmental obligations. The Respondents were ordered to remediate the pollution.

The Applicants (a concerned citizen group) were authorised to employ experts to monitor the sewerage works and waterworks for 10 weeks and to compile a comprehensive report for the court, with the Municipality being liable to pay the reasonable costs of the expert.

The court ordered that the Municipal Manager be imprisoned for 90 days if the sewage pollution was not remedied and on condition that sufficient, potable water be provided within ten weeks.

Furthermore, if the sewage pollution and water provision issues were not resolved within 10 days, the court ordered that the residents’ association was authorised to take control of the sewerage works at Koster and Swartruggens, to employ suitably qualified people to operate the sewerage works and that the reasonable costs for such work be paid jointly by the MEC responsible for Environmental Affairs in the province and the local and district municipalities.

 

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Section 24of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996

Everyone has the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being; and 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.

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Contact the National Environmental Crimes & Incidents Hotline (24 hours) or one of the national and provincial hotlines.