On 16 May 2015 a meeting was held in the Hout Bay Community Centre (more usually referred to as the Old Bowling Club) called by Dr N Mbombo, the Minister of Health in the Provincial Government of the Western Cape (PGWC). The meeting was the third in a series called by the minister to give the communities in Hout Bay the authorities’ version of the steps that have been taken to date in respect
Submitted by admin on Thu, 10/09/2014 - 11:21
The lethal legacy of the City’s political inertia & neglect – the polluted Hout Bay River and Bay
For years now the HBR&RA and other local concerned civic organisations have been warning the City about the increasing level of ecoli pollution in the Hout Bay River and thence in the sea around the river mouth. Officials claim that a significant part of the problem is runoff from horse paddocks and bird colonies upstream but everyone knows that it is overwhelmingly due to human faeces from the ever growing informal settlements of Imizamo Yethu and Dontse Yahke.
A couple of years ago, as a result of residents’ urging, the City put up one or two signs on the beach near the river mouth warning against swimming in the river estuary; but nothing was done to alert people about the polluted bay waters.
In addition, Dr Justin O’Riain, a Hout Bay resident, helped the City's people to design and install additional preventative measures in the stormwater outfalls that debouch into the Hout Bay River, which at the time greatly helped to reduce the flow of human faeces.
However, who knows if the systems put in place then are still operating efficiently, if at all.
Moreover, tinkering with the stormwater system is equivalent to merely placing a bandage on a festering sore. It does not get to the root of the problem, which is the lack of suitable infrastructure in DY/IY. Those of us who know anything about this matter are well aware that the City faces huge problems in dealing with the out of control population explosion in DY/IY but it is also clear that, whatever they - both politicians and officials say - there is absolutely no will to do anything to solve the problem.
The immediate result is that a flagship event planned to kick-start the Hout Bay Seafood Festival on Heritage Day 2014, the Xtri Triathlon, has had to be cancelled because the City authorities have declared the water in Hout Bay too polluted for humans to swim in; a swim along the beachline was one of the three components of the triathlon.
Now we see the City’s lethal legacy of apathy and neglect at work in our community. Not only are 120 super fit athletes who had been looking forward to competing in what was expected to become a red letter day on the South African triathlon calendar, bitterly disappointed; the Seafood Festival designed to bring our various local communities together in a common purpose, attract tourism to and hence create desperately needed jobs in the valley, has suffered a severe blow; and Hout Bay’s reputation as a premier destination in the Peninsula has been gravely damaged.
We hope the City politicians and their officials are proud of what they have achieved by the ruination of so many hopes and dreams of so many people in their area of responsibility.
The polluted chickens have come home to roost.