Union urges action on water pollution charges

Cape Town – Agricultural union TAU SA is to report the SA Police Service (SAPS) to the Public Protector and the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) because of a lack of progress made with charges laid by the union.

“Broken promises, insufficient or no feedback and apparent foot-dragging to protect ministers has brought TAU SA to the point where there is no other alternative than to take strong and quick action against the SA Police Service,” TAU SA deputy president and chairperson of the National Water Forum Louis Meintjes said on Monday.

There had been “absolutely no tangible progress with the criminal charges laid against three Cabinet ministers in May last year in connection with their failure to take action to prevent the pollution of clean water, thus making it virtually useless for agricultural purposes”, he said in a statement.

“It is a constant struggle to obtain even basic and proper feedback from the SA Police Service as to where the investigation stands at present, and what progress has been made.”

On May 7 2010 charges were laid against the ministers of water affairs, mineral resources, and agriculture at the Brooklyn, Pretoria Police Station.

“After much effort, a meeting was held on August 25 with Major General Taioe and Colonel Louis Bester of the SA Police Service.

“It was at that time agreed that Colonel Bester would undertake to coordinate the investigation, given that the charges covered a fairly wide geographical area,” he said.

Feedback from Bester was obtained only on October 7, and on October 29 he reported that the dossier had been referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions.


TAU SA had made further requests and a meeting was finally held on December 10 between the TAU SA, the National Water Forum, SAPS and the water affairs department.

It was decided, among other things, that the department would make available specific guidelines by January 10 2011.

That date came and went without any progress in discussions, Meintjies said.

“We received no feedback whatsoever from Colonel Bester or Ms Govender of the department of water affairs.

“We made enquiries on January 14 and again on February 9, and in the latter instance, we didn’t even receive an acknowledgement of our enquiry.

“We have therefore no other alternative than to take this example of untrustworthiness and indifference further.”

A full report and request for further action was now being sent to the office of the Public Protector, as well as to the Independent Complaints Directorate.

Meanwhile, water pollution continued unabated.

“It is high time this situation be considered a matter of public urgency, and we hope that if an example is made of a person or persons responsible for this by being charged, and the strongest possible punishment meted out to this person or persons, then things might begin to happen,” he said.

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