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Diving, fishing ban still in place at Durban Harbour while the City tests sewage pump repairs

SEWAGE flowed into Durban Harbour after a sewage pump station malfunctioned due to load shedding. | File Picture

SEWAGE flowed into Durban Harbour after a sewage pump station malfunctioned due to load shedding. | File Picture

Published Nov 11, 2021


ETHEKWINI Municipality announced today that repairs to the Mahatma Gandhi sewage pump station have been completed.

This comes after sewage flowed into the Durban harbour via Lavender Creek due to the malfunctioning of the pump station as a result of ongoing load shedding.

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The Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) told The Mercury on Tuesday that diving and angling have been temporarily suspended as a result of the raw sewage flowing into Durban harbour.

Acting harbour master Captain Pinky Zungu said the ban was implemented on Saturday and will remain in place until repairs at the City’s Mahatma Gandhi sewer pump-station are effected.

In a statement today, municipal spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela, said City teams would work through the night to ensure the pump was functional by tomorrow morning.

He said the pump had to be repaired after it was severely damaged by load shedding.

“The City constantly monitors levels of E.coli at all beaches. Results have consistently shown that the water quality is safe for recreational activities.

“However, the water at the Port of Durban is of poor quality and activities such as diving and fishing are still prohibited in the interest of public safety. The City and the port will inform the public once the water quality has improved,” said Mayisela.

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Transnet corporate affairs manager Ayanda Somagaca confirmed that “diving and fishing activities are still prohibited until the water quality has come to normalcy.”

The City apologised for the inconvenience the situation has caused.

“We are doing everything in our power to return the situation to normalcy,” said Mayisela.

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DA eThekwini councillor Sharmaine Sewshanker, said numerous pump stations have malfunctioned in the city in recent months, despite continuous requests by the party to the eThekwini Water and Sanitation Department to regularly service and maintain all sewer pump stations.

“This has affected the environment, tourism, businesses and activities along the Durban port and harbour, which has adversely impacted the economy,” she said.

She said a delegation of DA members visited the Mahatma Gandhi pump station yesterday.

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Sewshanker, together with DA MP Hannah Winkler, DA MPL Heinz de Boer and DA councillors Nicole Graham, Mzamo Billy and Geoff Pullan, engaged with eThekwini EWS officials on the matter.

“It was found that load shedding is having a marked impact on the malfunctioning of the pump stations.This is inexcusable as load shedding is not a new crisis. The city should therefore have planned accordingly,” Sewshanker said.

She said the officials assured the delegation that the situation at the Mahatma Gandhi pump station would be resolved.

“The DA will be investigating the possibility of laying criminal charges against the eThekwini Municipality as the slew of excuses issued by the city over regular sewage spills are simply unacceptable,” said Sewshanker.