City of Cape Town still mum over sewage infested ocean

City of Cape Town still mum over sewage infested ocean

City of Cape Town still mum over sewage infested ocean

Frightening levels of E-coli pollution found on beaches from Cape Town to Durban still spell disaster for beachgoers this December.

Nothing has been done about the 50 million litres of raw sewage, still being pumped into the Cape’s oceans daily. The public was asked to contest this unethical practice in July of this year, and responded. Amongst these letters, was this one shared publically by Dr Jo Barnes from Stellenbosch University’s Community Health Sector to the Director of Waste Management. Absolutely nothing has been done.

The European Union refuses to import fish from our coastline due to the high level of toxicity found in the fish captured off our coasts. It makes you wonder, what level of toxicity does the water need to reach before the fish captured from it are no longer fit for human consumption?

In a recent interview with Prof. Edda Weimann: The Professor warned of the rising danger of untreated sewage water to the public; saying the risk for children and people with immune disorders is particularly high, although she says, “the beach is a risk to everyone”.
Having seen many cases of healthy swimmers and paddlers contracting infections, she confessed to no longer swimming at the beaches herself.

“It is up to the public to put pressure on the City to start treating the sewage properly before pumping it into the bay. It is a danger to the public. It could result in an epidemic at any time.”– Prof. E. Weimann

South Africans are at the mercy of a government that refuses to treat the sewage ethically, rendering the beaches and marine life unsafe. The environmentally unlawful practice of sending untreated sewage into the ocean has been going on for two decades.

When I inquired as to whether the contamination of the beaches was high enough to warrant them being closed off to protect the public, the Professor responded by saying, “One can’t close the beaches all the way from Cape Town up to Durban, because that is what needs to be done. They have already had to close Hout Bay for a number of days due to this contamination”
Beach contamination Hout BayHout Bay beach during one of its closures. Image source: Weimann.

It’s frightening when you consider that Hout Bay beach only receives 5% of the 50 million litres of raw sewage while the other 95% is split between Green Point and Camps Bay.

What can be done about it?

With the festive season bringing a deluge of holidaymakers, it places an even greater strain on the already precarious system. Things are set to get hazardous when tourists and locals flock to the beaches only to find themselves swimming in seas of poo.

It is the general public’s responsibility to reject this unethical practice of contaminating our precious coastlines. The current sewerage system is clearly outdated, overloaded and being mismanaged. It is in serious need of upscaling and modernization.

The public must put enough pressure on the government to take the necessary steps to protect the people, marine life and animals.
Complaints can be sent via Fax to 021 423 9540.
E-mails to
kevin.samson@capetown.gov.za