The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has deployed technical teams to help restore infrastructure at the polluted Vaal River system caused by raw sewage flowing into the river from defective pump stations in the Emfuleni Municipality.

This comes after Finance Minister Tito Mboweni announced, during his Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement last month, that the defence force had been called on to assist in efforts to urgently rehabilitate the Vaal River system.

Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula will on Friday visit the Vaal River system rehabilitation project.

Working to together to find solutions  

Commenting on the project Mapisa-Nqakula said despite limited resources and capabilities, members of the army have been hard at work restoring dysfunctional plants and substations.

“The rehabilitation of the Vaal River system is a priority to us and we cannot succeed alone. The visit on Friday is not only meant to check on progress made by the army, but to garner support from surrounding communities and business people in the area.

“We are of the view that working together with external stakeholders could assist us in finding sustainable solutions to the water crisis in the Vaal Rivers system,” Mapisa-Nqakula said.

Site visit

The site visit will include inspections of two treatment plants and three water pump stations. An engagement session with business leaders and various stakeholders in and around the Emfuleni Local Municipality is also scheduled to take place afterwards.

Local government leaders and Rand Water officials will accompany the minister, including the apex leadership of the SANDF.