Local municipality fined R10 million for contravening environmental laws

The Thaba Chweu Local Municipality was found guilty and fined R10 million for the Contravention of Environmental Laws by the Lydenburg Magistrates’ Court.

Residents of Mashishing had been complaining of sewer spillages and contaminated water flows since 2012

until 2021, when the Department of Water Affairs and Environmental Affairs brought the docket to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

A decision to institute criminal charges was made, and they enrolled the matter in April 2022. Since the first appearance, the defence and the state had negotiations which subsequently came to a plea, and a sentence agreement.

READ | Support intensified for municipalities

This is when the municipality pleaded guilty, to seven counts related to the Contravention of the National Water Act.

The charges relate to unauthorised disposal of waste, unlawful water use, causing significant pollution to the environment. Unlawful, negligent disposition and distribution of raw untreated sewer. Failure to comply with the conditions stipulated in the Water Use License issued in terms of Section 28 of the National Water Act. Failure to comply with a directive in terms of Section 19 and 53 of the National Water Act 36 of 1998.

Adv. Tula Bekwa led the investigation and consequently led the plea and sentence agreement. The court penalised the municipality with R10 million. It suspended half of it to five years, on the condition that it is not convicted of a similar offence during the period of suspension.

READ MORE | Municipalities need to priories water provision

Effectively R4,8 million is to be used in urgent repairs and refurbishment of the municipal infrastructure. R200 000 of the R 5 000 000 fine is to be used as payment for compensation to the Department of Environmental Affairs in Equal Shares. This is for the expenses incurred during the investigation stages.

“We believe this sentence will serve as a deterrent effect to certain organs of the state who do not uphold the rule of law,” said the Director of Public Prosecutions, Adv. Nkebe Kanyane.

Related articles

Bafana Bafana coach ruffles furthers with his comments

Bafana Bafana head coach, Hugo Broos said in a press conference that South Africa does not have quality players that play in Europe. “Let’s face the problem that the level of the PSL is not...

Suspect rapes his grandmother and cousin

Supplied Content  A 28-year-old eSwatini national was arrested for robbery and raping his grandmother and cousin in Amsterdam. READ | Mother of alleged raped boy cries foul According to the police, they allege that an 87-year-old pensioner and...

#NationalChildProtectionWeek | Social grants programme to benefit orphaned children

Supplied Content  The Department of Social Development gazetted the proclamation of the Social Assistance Amendment Act, effectively improving the social assistance programme to benefit orphans and vulnerable children. This comes as the country commemorates Child Protection...

Government calls on citizens to commemorate National Child Protection Week

Supplied Content  Government has noted with concern various incidents of child abuse, which have been reported in the media. These include kidnapping, bullying of children at schools and on the internet, as well as food poisoning...


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here