The Lydenburg Magistrate’s Court has fined the Thaba Chweu Local Municipality in Mpumalanga R10 million for contravention of environmental laws.
This after the community of Mashishing had complained since 2011 about sewage spillages and contaminated water flows.
Contravention of National Water Act
The municipality entered into a plea bargain agreement with the state and pleaded guilty to seven counts related to the contravention of the National Water Act, after the Department of Water Affairs and Environmental Affairs brought a docket to the NPA for a decision to institute criminal charges.
NPA regional spokesperson Monica Nyuswa on Tuesday said the charges related to, among others, unauthorised disposal of waste, unlawful water use, causing significant pollution to the environment, and unlawful negligent disposition and distribution of raw untreated sewer.
“The court penalised the municipality with R10 million, of which half of it was suspended for five years, on the condition that it is not convicted of a similar offence during the period of suspension.
“Effectively, R4.8 million is to be used in urgent repairs, and refurbishment of the municipal infrastructure and R200.000 of the R5 million fine is to be used as payment for compensation to the Department of Environmental Affairs in Equal Shares, for the expenses incurred during the investigation stages,” Nyuswa said in a statement.
The Director of Public Prosecutions in Mpumalanga, advocate Nkebe Kanyane, said the sentence would serve as a deterrent to certain organs of the state who did not uphold the rule of law.