After decades of warnings – the stink of uncontrolled environmental pollution now stands to decimate the already ailing KZN beach tourism industry.

The most recent and ongoing raw sewage spills into the Umgeni River from eThekwini pump stations are a direct result of ANC cadre deployment, financial mismanagement, and poor leadership putting the brakes on our local economy.

Economic Development initiatives at a provincial level may as well be set aside as the biggest and busiest beaches along the coast remain closed. This despite the current long weekend and school holidays.

The situation is in part due to sewage spills. However, it is also due to provincial government and KZN EDTEA MEC, Ravi Pillay’s failure to call for some beaches to be reopened following the UPL arson attack and subsequent chemical spill.

Democratic Alliance (DA) investigations have revealed that specialist reports – in possession of EDTEA and the eThekwini Municipality – point to the fact that some beaches are now safe for opening.

Yet government leaders, who are expected to protect the interests of the public and economy, have yet to make these critical decisions. The tourism sector will continue to suffer for as long as government dilly-dallies on the matter.

eThekwini is however not the only major municipality where the ANC has allowed the beaches and rivers to be contaminated.

The city of uMhlathuze (Richards Bay) has been issued no less than 17 administrative and contravention notices in the past 24 months. Parliamentary questions reveal the municipality has only complied “in part” with the administrative notices.

Further promises by EDTEA of legal action or criminal charges in terms of Section 28 of the National Environmental Management Act – against errant municipal officials who allow environmental pollution – are laughable.

The public is well aware that ANC public representatives don’t allow other comrades to be locked up. Recent history has proven this.

Now more than ever, the public needs to hurt those who continue to pollute our seas and rivers. The best way to do this is to vote in a capable state during the 1 November local government elections – and to reclaim and rehabilitate the economy and natural resources under the leadership of the DA.

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Heinz de Boer, MPL

Heinz de Boer, MPL, is the Democratic Alliance KZN Spokesperson on Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs.

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