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Mpumalanga Legislature agrees to intervene at Barberton sewage purification plant

A motion from the FF Plus, requesting the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature to investigate the shocking condition of the Barberton sewage purification plant, was adopted without opposition during a session of the Legislature on Tuesday.

After receiving complaints from farmers farming on land adjacent to the sewage purification plant, the FF Plus paid a visit to the area.

It was discovered that sewage from the sewage purification plant is being pumped into a tributary of the Suidkaap River and then flows directly into various agricultural dams. Dead fish were also discovered in these dams.

The sewage purification plant has not been operational since the beginning of 2020 and does not only pose a serious environmental risk, but also poses a health risk to humans and animals.

The results of water quality tests, which farmers had conducted, indicates that the water is not suitable for human or for animal consumption.

In 2020, the Mbombela Local Municipality, under which Barberton falls, had to remove thousands of fish from two farm dams.

Furthermore, the sewage has had a destructive impact on the harvests of the farms nearby as farmers recorded an annual decline in crop yield since the sewage dumping started. As a result, these farmers are taking the Mbombela Municipality to court for alleged revenue losses.

The FF Plus will hold Mpumalanga's MEC for Agriculture, Rural Development and Environmental Affairs, Mr Mandla Msibi, and the MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Mrs Busisiwe Shiba, accountable for ensuring that the said investigation is conducted and compelling the Municipality to take the necessary remedial steps as required by the adopted motion.

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