Who NOSE where this is gonna end

16 May 2014 Posted by in Environment | 5 comments

Hi All

I was phoned by John Yeld from the Cape Argus on Tuesday for comment and this is the resultant article with a response article the following day. This is another salvo in the LONG running battle over the stench from the sewerage works. A few months ago we asked Helen Zille to visit the site and from her feedback it looks as if our Premier and Patricia de Lille (Mayor) were also fed a line. We (people in the chemical warfare zone) have had enough! We are sick an tired of being fobbed off with half truths and sick of the stench. We need to take action but need support of the other areas involved.

We as a community need to take this further and I need some help… Please get me the contact details of community leaders in the surrounding and affected areas eg. Pelican Park, Pelican Heights, Vrygrond village, Lavender hill, Seawinds, Strandfontein, Lotus River etc.

For the record I don’t agree with the City’s comments in either of the articles below, Mr Sonnenberg states that “its not illegal”to pump untreated (the digesters are not working properly) sludge straight out into UNLINED dune valleys creating a massive stinking dam in a declared nature reserve and on the banks of a body of water… I wonder how well they know the water act… It seems the best way to test this is in a court of law, watch this space. Please also note that even legal acts can be morally and environmentally wrong and indefensible…

Whether sludge is trucked or piped is not important, what a waste of words to even bring this up… Staffing: I have been told by the staff of the plant that they are not doing scheduled maintenance. On the day I walked through the entire plant, there were 2 workers trying to keep a lid on the pot and failing… the offices may be full of management and admin staff but there are not bodies working on the plant, fixing and maintaining as there should be and I challenge the city to tell me that I am both blind and deaf. Don’t let me start on capacity – TO LATE – the plant has a design capacity so does my car, it has the capacity to carry 5 people, I can fit more BUT if the car wont start and the backseat has a lawnmower on it I cannot claim that my car has capacity for 5 people, only design capacity. I could go on and on, the centrifuges that have been broken for YEARS are being repaired even though they have been identified in a report by the city, signed by the management of THIS plant to be the WRONG solution. WHY! waste the taxpayers money?

OH MY HAT! Someone is in politics, what a load of poo! The smells come from the sewerage works, if they stupidly cover a manhole with a plastic lid and it breaks it is still their fault… We can tell the difference between the normal vlei smells and SHIT! We know the cause of the smells and so do they. The mitigation measures mentioned above are a JOKE… they are spraying the gas with EXPENSIVE masking perfumes from a jerry-built, make-shift, heath-robinson assembly of garden irrigation sprays and pipes that they turn off at night and don’t work in the wind… As for contacting me, when I complain they send either the plant manager or his deputy or on one occasion the 2 poor suckers who are the only 2 guys working on the ground to tell me a whole bunch of platitudes and spin… I have asked them to stop doing this because it is a waste of my time and theirs. Yes, I got a call from the plant managers boss after my letter to the Premier and the Mayor, this is the same bloke who has been avoiding our calls, not replying to our emails, and avoiding agreeing the minutes of the meetings we were having with them (before they put a stop to it) even though we asked many times for comment, this was from the person who is supposed to attend the FBEP meeting every 2nd month and has missed the last 2. Sorry I couldn’t talk to him for more than 10 minutes, I was busy doing MY JOB. As for 12 million a year in maintenance, it is going to cost a whole lot more than that and the paltry R86M budgeted to fix this plant and clean up the mess they have made.

I better stop now, I am getting excited again.



  1. Len Davies05-16-14

    Some may well recall the very effective rates boycott applied by Grassy Park/Lotus River residents under the banner of Logra some years ago. This effectively led to major improvements taking place in their areas as well as to the City recognizing their voice and the need to listen to it.
    Unless we make our voices heard the planned and approved – 21 July 2009 by the Provincial Government – dredging of the Vlei and the associated de-watering of the sludge through the settling ponds at the Waste-water plant will just be another pipe-dream.
    I realize that this is a bit extreme, but the bottom line is that the City is just ignoring our pleas, not responding when we seek answers and we are left to sit with the unacceptable outcome.
    Were it not for the threat of a law suit, the City would still have been illegally polluting or allowing the pollution of the Vlei.

  2. Simon Cranswick05-16-14

    Well done Rich – I’ll support you where I can – keeo up the fight

  3. neil05-16-14

    I am glad this is getting media publicity, but I don’t understand why there is no mention in these articles of the drying beds being “UNLINED” resulting in huge potential for ground water pollution. Surely this is the biggest environmental sin.

  4. Trevor Brown05-16-14

    A huge thanks to all involved in doing this ‘dirty’ work. I think Len has a point. The only way that the City will take heed is if we stop paying our rates.

    We could place our monthly rates into an escrow account until there is a firm commitment from the city to improve the situation.

    By the way, Victoria Road is sorely in need of improvement.

  5. Charlene10-31-19

    Let’s take it up together. People. Enough is enough. Our environment needs our actions and positive participation.

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