The DA, on Friday, laid criminal charges against the Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure, Patricia de Lille, and her department’s acting Director General, Dr Alec Moremi at the Odendaalsrus police station.
The minister acknowledged in a parliamentary reply that the failure of her department to timeously fix a sewerage pump at the Odendaalsrus Correctional Centre led to a criminal offence being committed in terms of section 151 of the National Water Act.
Not only did it cause the sewage to on occasion flow back into the facility and led to human rights violations, but it also caused lasting environmental damage to surrounding areas and polluted surrounding freshwater streams.
The Minister and DG are further guilty in that:
- through her written reply, she has first-hand knowledge of the situation;
- The DA visited the site on 28 August and again on 18 November 2022 and found that none of the remedial actions undertaken in her reply has been affected.
- Earlier and more decisive action from the department could have limited the extent to which the criminal offence was committed.
The DA will continue to monitor this case. The Minister and her department should urgently ensure that the mess created is cleaned up. This is their job. However, such action cannot indemnify them from the fact that a criminal offence was committed.