Zandvlei petitioners still waiting for City response

The City has posted new signage at Marina da Gama, warning the water is polluted, and unfit for swimming, playing in or drinking.

Capetonians who signed the petition to save Zandvlei’s waterways are still waiting for the City’s official response to their demands.

Nearly 6000 people have put their names to the petition calling for changes to the management of the City’s waterways (“Petition takes City to task over Zandvlei pollution,” April 15, False Bay Echo), but an official response has been slow in coming and petitioners are wondering whether the City is ignoring their concerns.

Liz Linsell, the Lakeside resident who organised a stakeholders’ meeting in the neighbourhood on Friday April 23 to discuss the petition, said she knew of three more sewage leaks into the vlei – including one that remained ongoing – since the petition had been launched.

Xanthea Limberg, mayoral committee member for water and waste, said a detailed response to the questions raised in the petition was being finalised.

It would include, she said, information on sewer infrastructure projects, which had either been completed or were under way, that would significantly reduce the impact of pollution on the Zandvlei estuary.

It would also cover water quality, and the development of a pollution abatement strategy, specific to the Sand River catchment, that would be completed in the coming months, she said.

“The weed harvester, known as Kingfisher, has been repaired and is currently operating,” she said.

Those at the meeting on Friday April 23 had been told about abatement efforts, she said (“Residents dive into waterways issues,” False Bay Echo, April 29)

Ms Limberg said the City’s catchment, stormwater and river management branch, together with ward councillor Aimee Kuhl, was planning a Sand River catchment public open day, where various line departments responsible for pollution mitigation would have exhibits.

“Respective line department officials will be available at these exhibits to answer questions relating to their core expertise. As the Sand River catchment is a much bigger catchment, spanning many wards, the local ward councillors will also be available at this public open day,” she said.

She did not say when the open day might happen.

The City would invite the petition authors, along with a limited number of signatories (due to Covid-19 precautions), to the official opening of the newly upgraded Retreat pump station.

Ms Limberg said the new design of this station would reduce the number of pump-station failures due to blockages, and ensure a vastly improved reticulation of the sewer system in the area.

“The facility is scheduled for commissioning at the end of this month (May 2021) and a formal invitation will be forthcoming once details are confirmed,” she said.

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