The opposition Action South Africa (ActionSA) party has threatened legal action against the government’s decision to grant Cape Town city authorities permission to discharge raw sewage into the sea.ActionSA Western Cape provincial chairperson Michelle Wasserman said Thursday that the party has met its attorneys and is formulating an appeal against the decision by the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment.
She said ActionSA would also rally Cape Town residents and civil society groups to force the ministry to reverse its decision.
The bone of contention is the continuing pumping of sewage into the ocean off Green Point, Camps Bay and Hout Bay for another five years – which city officials insisted was within acceptable environmental limits.
According to the official, the government’s decision was ill-informed and flew in the face of research by several bodies that has proved “the negative impact of these sewage outflows on the environment.”
“The University of Stellenbosch fiercely opposed the previous permit application in 2015, providing reasons that have neither been addressed nor mentioned in the current Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment’s recently approved permit,” Wasserman noted.
She added: “To pump raw sewage into a Marine Protected Area is a clear violation of our constitutional right to an environment that is not harmful to health.”
In response, Cape Town acting mayoral committee member for water and sanitation Siseko Mbandezi said the permit was approved because “all three outfalls are operating within the limits of marine environmental standards as determined by current pollution guidelines with no associated evidence of deleterious marine impacts.”