The City of Cape Town has failed to keep sewage from flowing into its nature reserves which has had a negative impact on more than just the environment as it has caused job losses and lost business.
According to GroundUp, Cape Town’s three most popular islands – Rietvlei, Zandvlei and Zeekoevlei remain closed due to the ongoing pollution from sewage. This too has had an impact on water sports, businesses, sports clubs and tourism.
The first vlei to close this year was Zandvlei in Muizenberg on May 25. It opened again on October 11 but closed 11 days later due to high bacterial counts of sewage. Thereafter, Rietvlei in Milnerton closed on June 24, followed by Zeekoevlei next to Grassy Park on July 15.
Rietvlei is an international destination for windsurfers and also for wing foiling.
“Between 200 and 300 people from all over the world come to train at Rietvlei,” says Milnerton Aquatic Club commodore Brian Weber. They come from northern hemisphere countries to be able to train during our summer. But with the vlei closed, they are either cancelling their plans or holding back to see if the pollution is cleaned up”, says Weber.
Numerous water sports business owners in Milnerton and surrounding areas say this means a loss of business for restaurants, grocery stores and many other services. Board repair businesses such as Angus Welch’s are also affected.
Welch also mentioned the loss of the vlei as a meeting place. “It’s where we network, meet, chat, and it’s safe for the kids. But now “youngsters have nowhere to play and learn”, he says.
“The City blames the pollution on the abuse of the sewerage system, but the City needs to maintain and do proper cleanups. The problem, in general, seems to be a failing sewerage system. There are broken pipes just adjacent to the reserve, there’s always sewage coming out and they have to fix it”, said Haslinger.
No rehabilitation plan for the nature reserves has been provided.
Meanwhile, in a separate incident, Western Cape authorities revealed that it is aware of the reports regarding seals being found dead on the West Coast, but rule out avian influenza as the cause of death.
The department said about 144 seals were buried between Laaiplek and Dwarskersbos on Tuesday, November 2 while 50 others were buried at Elands Bay.
Picture: Instagram / Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve / Ruan Benade