Campaigning gets dirty in Newcastle
ActionSA candidate Faizel Cassim accused of polluting water 'to stir public fury'
ActionSA’s mayoral candidate in the Newcastle municipality has been accused of polluting the Amcor Dam and Ncandu River in an attempt to garner support in the upcoming local government elections.
The municipality claims Faizel Cassim, the owner of a laundry, contaminated the water sources with chemicals from his factory, filmed the “magical foam” and pretended to be a whistleblower when he posted video footage of the pollution on social media.
However, Cassim said the allegations made against him were false and “politically motivated” as he is the mayoral candidate for the municipality under ActionSA.
Newcastle municipal spokesperson Mlungisi Khumalo said their preliminary investigation established the “magical foam” and contamination of water sources was orchestrated.
“It has also been established that chemical pollutants were deliberately channelled to the Amcor Dam waterfall with the intention to stir public fury. Municipal officials have also found that during the orchestration of this deliberate pollution, the perpetrators filmed the entire ordeal before distributing footage on social media,” said Khumalo.
“The culprits further posed as potential whistleblowers for members of the media before distributing images and video footage. It is believed the motive behind this clandestine operation was to campaign and use the video as a tool for the upcoming local government elections by ActionSA in Newcastle.”
Khumalo said the video was immediately removed when the municipality made clear its intentions to conduct investigations.
“The municipality has made law enforcement authorities and the KwaZulu-Natal department of environmental affairs aware of this sabotage. It also calls for a thorough investigation of all those involved, including an industrial laundry which is alleged to have pumped its chemicals to the water sources.
“The municipality calls upon Faizel Cassim, the owner of the laundry and the alleged mastermind behind this environmental hazard, to cooperate and comply with investigations.
“It will also write to the Electoral Commission to complain about Mr Cassim and his party’s unlawful electioneering strategy, which would have potentially harmed thousands of Newcastle residents had it not been averted,” Khumalo said.
Cassim told TimesLIVE on Tuesday that at the time of the allegations, the current mayor and acting municipal manager had no documentation on hand.
“In fact, they still don’t have anything on hand to prove their statements are true,” he said.
“I made a video that went viral on Facebook highlighting the issue of pollution at Amcor Dam and Ncandu River, and has been the case from 2014.
“After investigation by engineers and environmentalists, their conclusion is that the dam and the river are in this state due to failed infrastructure. The municipality was asked to have this repaired as soon as possible. Newspaper articles dating back from 2014 to present are available to verify my statements.”
Cassim said he has not been formally informed of any investigation against him.
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