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Committee says reasonable progress made in dealing with polluted Vaal River

VAAL TRIANGLE - The Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Portfolio Committee says reasonable progress was being made to resolve the polluted Vaal River system with "steady improvements" already visible. Committee chairperson Machwene Semenya said in a statement the broader solution to the problem was two-fold - improved legislative framework governing water infrastructure and dealing with operational and maintenance backlogs. Semenya said they are of the view that the current legal framework must be strengthened to make it more effective. Last year, the Department of Water and Sanitation set aside R341m for the resuscitation of all wastewater treatment infrastructure in the Vaal Triangle to prevent further pollution in the Vaal River. The committee said directives by the department to municipalities - the source of the pollution - were not working, which resulted in the need to reconsider the licensing of municipalities that were failing to run wastewater treatment plants. The committee called for vacant critical positions to be filled swiftly within municipalities to ensure a skills transfer when the intervention ended. PHOTO: (Human Rights Commission)

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