If ever there was a clear and present danger to SA, it is its inability to manage its water resources, and it is a threat that goes far beyond immediate crises precipitated by isolated contamination or drought. Without a reliable supply of potable water, no community dare entertain hope for a better life, and without hope the nation is truly lost. The sewage pollution of the Vaal River is such an immediate crisis, and it needs an immediate intervention by everyone in the position to act, but most urgently by the agencies at all three tiers of government. So far only civil society has had a measure of success by raising public awareness and forming an alliance that will take legal action against various organs of the state. The pollution of the Vaal, this time mainly with faecal matter pouring into its catchment from obsolete and inappropriate sewerage infrastructure, raises the acuity of the crisis. The river is the country’s second biggest by volume and arguably its most important....

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