Council and abattoir in legal fight over waste

Alfred Moselakgomo

Alfred Moselakgomo

Msukaligwa Municipality in Ermelo, Mpumalanga, is suing an abattoir for allegedly polluting the environment.

The municipality is itself being taken to court by tourism operators for allegedly contaminating Lake Chrissie, a tourist attraction in the area.

Last month, tourism operators in the area were forced to close down a popular tourist route because of human waste flowing from sewerage works near the town.

All activities, which include hiking, bird watching, mountain biking, photography and canoeing, were stopped.

The local tourism body is suing the municipality for loss of profit during the closure.

The municipality announced yesterday it had also filed a court action against Chrissiesmeer Abattoir for the pollution.

The municipality alleges that the abattoir has contravened municipal by-laws by polluting the environment and contaminating water with effluent streaming from the company.

It alleges that Chrissiesmeer Abattoir allows about 15000 litres of blood to flow into Lake Chrissie daily.

Municipal spokesman Surprise Nkosi said the owners of the abattoir had also contravened the National Water and the National Environmental Management Acts of 1998 after failing to respond to a letter served on them on July 18.

"We warned the abattoir to refrain from their negligent practices of polluting the environment and contaminating water," said Nkosi.

"As a result, we have decided to open a criminal case against the abattoir."

Nkosi declined to comment further on the matter because it was "under legal consideration".

"We'll let the law take its course," he said

Len Kleynhans, the executive director of Chrissiesmeer Abattoir, said he would issue a statement at a later date.