South Africa: Water Crisis due to African Incompetence, Overpopulation, and Raw Sewage

The Gauteng area of South Africa—which encompasses Johannesburg and Pretoria—stands on the brink of a water supply crisis caused directly by overpopulation, the pollution of existing water tables by raw sewage from shantytowns, and incompetent maintenance which has put almost all the water recycling plants out of operation, it has emerged.

The polluted Hennops River in Gauteng, that province’s largest river.

According to a report published last year by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), the “challenges” facing South Africa include a growing population, contamination of rivers, leakage from collapsing infrastructure (including wastewater treatment facilities in disrepair).

The government has already deployed the South African army to try and help repair treatment plants which have collapsed and which are letting tons of raw sewage flow into the Vaal River, which supplies water to the cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria.

A recent report in the Businesstech news service in South Africa revealed that residents in Gauteng residents consume over 300 liters of water a day–the highest in the country.

The province also has the highest population–14.7 million out of 57.73 million people living in South Africa, according to Statistics SA–and is growing by almost 300,000 annually, as blacks from all over Africa flock to the city in the hope that its dwindling number of white residents can supply them with jobs.

The report went on to say that “raw sewage is the biggest contributor to water pollution, with drinking water from Lesotho [being] used to flush pollution out of the Vaal River System.”

It also noted that only one of Gauteng’s three water treatment plants is operational. The army was “currently working to fix these facilities,” according to the report, which it described as being similar to those in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

A report in South Africa’s IOL news from November 2018 revealed that the largest river in Gauteng, the Hennops River—dubbed the “river of faeces”—is covered with an “evil” sludge caused by failing wastewater treatment works and continual sewage spills from broken municipal infrastructure.

The Hennops River.

The failing wastewater treatment works in the river’s heavily-urbanised catchment area have contributed to turning the river into a “lifeless wasteland,” a local activist told IOL, adding that “there have been long periods of almost a year when [a major water recycling] plant was mostly not functioning, with sewage rotting further while flowing through the plant and being discharged untreated”.

“Ageing infrastructure and numerous debilitating cable thefts have reduced capacity drastically,” the report said, pointing out that the “cable thieves struck again the previous night.”

Another recent IOL report revealed that the same problem was afflicting the Jukskei River, in Johannesburg, where the water is “murky grey-brown and reeks of sewage.”

An aerial view of a sewage spill into the Jukskei from Northern Farm in 2015 that turned the river black.

The report quoted water expert Dr Anthony Turton as saying that not only is the Jukskei one of the country’s most polluted rivers, it’s also one of the “saddest”.

“Its demise, he believes, is a metaphor for “all that is wrong in our society. Its malady is a complex amalgam of state failure upstream, including the hijacking of buildings by criminal syndicates that has resulted in the coupling between the sewage systems and the stormwater systems.

“The grease and fat in the system is so massive that it will have to be mined out, and until this is done, the drains will continue to be unable to carry the volumes.

“Until the criminal hijacking of buildings is sorted out—a legal issue that is also manifesting as an impediment to investor confidence and thus rejuvenation of the city—I can’t see the river being ‘saved’,” he declared.

“Hijackings”—that is the illegal occupation—of buildings in Johannesburg by hundreds of thousands of blacks has destroyed much of the city center and has resulted in a sewage flowing into the stormwater drain system. Above, a typical building in central Johannesburg, photographed in 2018.

Rr Irwin Juckes, a microbiologist who monitors the health of the Jukskei, agrees that the greatest problems the river faces are sewage pollution—and flooding.

Water quality reports from the City of Johannesburg show two peak inflows of sewage pollution into the river, he says. 

“The first is at the source of the river in central Johannesburg. It comes from the hundreds of bad and hijacked buildings which have no services, so their sewage runs into the stormwater system.

“The second peak is from [the black shantytown of] Alexandra, where decades of unplanned development has covered over access to the underground system and brought about over-capacity.”

Sewage also gushes into the Jukskei from ageing infrastructure and a backlog of maintenance, and, in some cases the use of superimposed sewage and stormwater systems, with interlinks for access. “It’s therefore common for sewage and stormwater to mingle if the interlinks fail,” Juckes explains.

“There is poor maintenance,” another white told the IOL. “The sewage systems in Paris and Rome are 2000 years old and yet they don’t have the spillages we do.”

It is not only in Gauteng where African incompetence has struck down the infrastructure inherited from the previous white government.

Residents in Egudwini, which lies to the south of the east coast city of Durban, have been without water for weeks, after the local authority could not even maintain a water truck delivery system.

According to a local report, blacks from the “Egudwini community” say the taps in the area ran dry years ago and they have been relying on the eThekwini municipality (the new African name for the Durban local authority) to supply water by truck.

However, these trucks “are no longer functional” and the “community” has been without water since November 2018, the report said.

“We don’t even know when the truck is expected to come around. We have made numerous calls to the municipality but it has been a no show all of December and January,” one resident, Khumbuzile Nyembe told media.

Nyembe says the area has been plagued with regular disruptions to its water supply for years. “The water truck that is meant to at least ease the situation, but it goes for weeks without coming. When it does show up it only goes to certain homes,” she says.

The recent Cape Town water crisis was falsely blamed on “climate change” by ignorant controlled media journalists—who were then forced to eat their words when the true reasons for the crisis (overpopulation and poor resource management) became obvious.

Recommended For You


  1. This article says a lot about the Government of South Africa and its priorities, none of which happen to be for the people.

  2. They just need more money & black empowerment. If they had these things, the water in South Africa would be the cleanest in the world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.