FOW Newsletter May 2007


Fishing owls May/June Newsletter

Dear fellow anglers,

DWAF has been appointed custodians of our scarce water resources by the government may be they should change their acronym to DOFF

Read the following speech that appeared in the Sunday times 13th May and read the webmasters comments at the end.

<http://www.sundaytimes.co.za/News/Article.aspx?id=463523>
 
Government will not crack down legally on municipalities that fail to prevent water pollution if the local authority lacks capacity, Water Affairs Minister Lindiwe Hendricks said today.

"Our attitude is: How can you police people when you yourself know they actually have no capacity to comply," she told a media briefing at Parliament today.

She was responding to a question on how her department planned to tackle municipalities which, in some areas, were the "biggest" polluters.

Currently, high E-coli bacteria counts - an indication of faecal contamination - are being recorded in rivers and ground water sources in many parts of South Africa.

The problem is associated with untreated sewage.

Lindiwe said the approach her department had adopted was to support municipalities "until they can stand on their own two feet".

It was in the "transition stage" of transferring water supply and treatment schemes, as well as staff, to municipalities.

"So we are not going hard on municipalities and taking them to court because of pollution; we are trying to work with them to make sure their systems work."

Hendricks said many municipal water treatment works were "old schemes that are not coping with the number of people that have come to stay in an area".

Much of their infrastructure was old, and had not been refurbished.

"So our approach is that in order for us to police successfully, we must make sure that the municipality puts into place mechanisms to deal with this... after which we can police."

However, she was "beginning now to write very strong letters to municipalities" in those areas where untreated sewerage was contaminating the local water supply.

"I think this is where one must start before you come with a hard-hitting measure... We will resort to legal action when we think it makes sense," Hendricks said.

The media briefing comes the day before the minister’s Budget vote speech, set to be delivered in the National Assembly on Wednesday afternoon.

Sapa

WEBMASTER COMMENT:
If THIS IS NOT PROOF THAT THE GOVERNMENT AND MUNICIPALITIES CAN IGNORE THE LAWS OF THE COUNTRY IN SOUTH AFRICIAN LAW WE HAVE THE FOLLOWING MAXIMS: “IMPOSSIBILITY OF PERFORMANCE”.  IN CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES, A CONTRACTUAL PARTY WILL NOT BE HELD TO THE CONTRACT IF IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PERFORM HIS CONTRACTUAL DUTIES.  HOWEVER, SELF-CREATED IMPOSSIBILITY IS NO EXCUSE.  THE MUNICIPALITIES AND THE CURRENT GOVERNMENT CREATED THE “LACK OF CAPACITY” THEMSELVES BY GETTING RID OF COMPETENT PEOPLE, EMPLOYING INCOMPETENT ONES, BAD PLANNING, POLITICAL GAMES, REFUSING TO UPGRADE OR MAINTAIN SEWAGE SYSTEMS AND IGNORING THE PLEAS OF ITS CITIZENS TO DO SO.  IN ADDITION, PERFORMANCE MUST BE IMPOSSIBLE – NOT MERELY DIFFICULT OR COSTLY.  DWAF’S REASONING IS THEREFORE SHOCKING AND YET AGAIN SHOWS ITS UNWILLINGNESS TO FULFILL ITS MANDATE TO PROTECT OUR COUNTRY’S PRECIOUS AND SCARCE WATER RESOURCES.

THE ORDINARY MAN IN THE STREET CAN NOT. IF THE DEPARTMENT OF WATER AFFAIRS AND FORESTRY AND THE MUNICIPALITIES CANNOT DO THEIR JOBS THEN SURELY IT IS TIME THAT THEY PULLED THEIR FINGERS OUT OF THEIR BACKSIDES. ALL OUR WATERWAYS ARE DETERIORATING AT AN ALARMING RATE AND FROM A POPULATION HEALTH POINT OF VIEW IT SEEMS THAT THE POWERS AT BE WILL ONLY REACT WHEN A HEALTH DISASTER TAKES PLACE. I WONDER WHAT FIFA WILL SAY TO THIS BECAUSE ONE OF THE PREREQUISITES TO S.A. HOLDING THE 2010 WORLD SOCCER CUP IS THAT A SAFE ENVIRONMENT MUST BE PROVIDED TO ALL THE VISITORS COMING TO THIS COUNTRY.

I MAKE NO APOLOGIES WHATSOEVER FOR TYPING THIS COMMENT IN UPPERCASE LETTERS.