Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Raw Sewerage into the Botanical Gardens

They say that the grass is greener on the other side but it is usually because it is over a septic tank. In this case it is not far from the truth.

I moved to the Roodekrans area of Johannesburg last year because of the beautiful views into the kloof above the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens and the very rare flora that is found here and nowhere else. It was these wilds inside the city limits that attracted us to move here in the first place. Soon it became apparent that not all was rosy as it looked or smelled.

Soon after moving to Roodekrans, we found itinerants living up in the kloof, knowledge of which the estate agent and seller kindly hid from us. Some of these itinerants were religious people coming for the holy waters of the 3 springs that are the source of the stream which eventually becomes the Crocodile River. It is this stream which flows down the magnificent waterfall and through Botanical Gardens. Some itinerants are digging into the sides of the cliffs, for what we can only speculate as there is no gold in these hills so say the police to whom I report it to. All of them cut down the Protea trees for firewood and dig up medicinal plants in a protected biodiversity area that can’t be quickly replaced.

A lot of Johannesburg residents like myself are very proud of the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens with its astonishing waterfall set in a stunning landscaped garden and not to forget the Black Eagles that nest there in the cliffs. Well sorry to burst that bubble as like the saying goes it is green because it is over a septic tank. Yes raw sewerage is flowing at a steady rate directly into the stream that flows through the Botanical Gardens.

Just under a month ago during a Joburg Photowalkers hike into the kloof above the Botanical Gardens, a raw sewerage leak flowing directly into the stream was discovered and duly reported to the City of Joburg, and today I was tasked to take a walk down into the kloof to see if anything has been done about the sewerage leak. What I was hoping to find was that the leaking sewer pipe had being repaired but sadly this was not the case as nothing had being done to rectify the leak. As you can see in the very top photo of this post, that the grass is very green grass by being fed from all the pollutants this has been going on for a very long time.

While we were down here in the kloof, we decided to walk up past the Manie Mulder Waterfall to check on the conditions further upstream and on the 3 springs which form the source of the stream. Along the way we saw itinerants living in hovels dug out into the sides of the cliffs and even had the pleasure of witnessing an exorcism of a demon possessed person in the stream by 2 priests. I kid you not. I did not take any photos of the exorcism but I asked a lot of questions about the plastic covered person standing naked in the stream.

At one of the springs, we sadly watched a woman with a baby on her back drink and collect holy water from the rubbish littered water source that was sweeping out of the rock cliffs. I have been told that these holy waters bring in bus loads of people and I wonder if polluted water have healing powers that I don't know about.

But the worst was yet to come. To our horror we found a major sewerage pipe blockage which was overflowing into the stream above the source where the woman and her baby were drinking from and where the demon exorcism was taking place. This sewerage was flowing at a steady pace down a small valley between Jarrah Street and Albida Place, Breaunanda, a suburb of Krugersdorp in Mogale City, into the small stream that then flows through the kloof, over 2 waterfalls and into the Botanical Gardens below before becoming the Crocodile River.

Forget exorcisms, tree cutting, and squatters, now I was so filled with mixed emotions, from anger to crying in shame for the human race. I could handle the religious fanatics even with their associated litter but the raw sewerage flowing into this beautiful kloof was the last straw. Time to make a stink about this, like that Aussie song How can we sleep when our beds are burning? The first raw sewerage leak was reported to the City of Joburg and yet nothing was done, this new bigger leak will be reported to Mogale City but unless we all make some noise, I expect nothing will be done.

1 comment:

Niki said...

Such a beautiful place. What a shame and what a disgrace. It's no wonder my dad was adament even 12 years ago that the kids don't venture into the water

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