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Resident laments poor state of Jukskei River

“The condition of the river contravenes our constitutional right to a healthy environment."

A Morninghill resident has raised concerns about the neglected infrastructure and poor maintenance at the Jukskei River at Malan Avenue and Clarkson Street.

Utter neglect and pollution mars the river which flows just behind Gillooly’s Farm, as highlighted by resident Adele Pote.

“This property with the Jukskei River running through it has City Power (CP) pylons.

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“It has Rand Water (RW) infrastructure, City of Ekurhuleni (CoE) substations, stormwater, and sewerage systems,” she explained.

Overgrown vegetation is obscuring the city’s infrastructure.

“However, no one wants to take responsibility.

“None of them act, and it is affecting our environment and our health.”

Her major concern is the neglected Jukskei River, stating how human excrement is floating in the river.

Including overgrown vegetation obscuring the CoE infrastructure, untreated sewage polluting the river, and a lack of response from municipal authorities despite repeated pleas for action.

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“I have asked for the maintenance schedules and that all the entities work together to address the challenges plaguing this area.

“I have reported the matter several times, provided reference numbers and even escalated the matter, but to date it is promises and zero action,” she lamented.

Expressing her frustration with the situation, Pote said this violates our constitutional rights.

“The condition of the river contravenes our constitutional right to a healthy environment.

“We have the right to an environment that is not harmful to our health and well-being.

“The environment should be protected to benefit of present and future generations, prevent pollution and damage to natural resources, and promote conservation. These are all constitutional obligations,” she said.

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She thanked local initiatives and community volunteers who helped in cleaning up the riverbanks and raising awareness and the EPWP workers.

Pote urged the municipality to take responsibility and accountability.

“I want our municipality to comply with the law, fulfil its constitutional duties, and act swiftly to address these pressing challenges.

“They are failing to deliver service delivery to the public.

“We cannot always expect the ‘no money’ or ‘no budget’ excuse, we need answers.

“Where is the money? What was done with it? Where are the vehicles? Where is the tar?” asked Pote.

Bedfordview’s Ward Clr Jill Humphreys said the deployment of the EPWP team to do regular clearing of river debris on the site has made a difference.

Overgrown vegetation and uncut grass cover the city’s stormwater drain.

She said the waste department did regular removal with skips.

However, Humphreys admitted that grass-cutting has been a major problem in all of CoE.

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“Our Bedfordview Depot had no PPE for four years.

“Relevant specialised vehicles, machinery, and equipment are still not available. There are no grass-cutting contractors and the roads department had no covers for storm drains for years.”

She also noted the response times from the CoE left much to be desired, but stated officials are doing the best they can with what they have; even though budgetary constraints are extreme.

According to Humphreys, as the pollution of the Jukskei River source comes from the City of Joburg, there have been engagements with the relevant departments and the neighbouring councillors to find solutions.

“They created an upstream wetland at considerable cost as one endeavour to mitigate the sewage.

“This has, however, not been successful.

“CoJ also installed a colossal upstream litter trap that is now also dysfunctional because of extreme vandalism,” said Humphreys.

The CoE and City Power had not provided comment by the time of print.

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