The Potsdam Waste Water Treatment Plant has for months been discharging non compliant effluent into the Diep River. In so doing it is polluting not just the river but the Milnerton Lagoon, The Table Bay Nature Reserve and the oceans.

On 21 September 2020, the Western Cape Government’s Directorate: Environmental Law Enforcement (the Green Scorpions) issued the City of Cape Town with a directive, ordering it to remedy the state of the lagoon. Failure to comply is a criminal offence. Instead of cleaning up the mess the City on 20 October 2020, the City lodged an appeal against the terms and timelines in the directive.

But what of the Potsdam Plant? The City claims that it is much improved. But in fact the according to the City’s own presentations the Plant is over capacity and is not designed for the flows it is now expected to cope with (Read or Download the document confirming this) 

You would think that the City’s Planning department would take note and would stop all new developments that would increase the flow of material in the Potsdam Plant. Not at all they just carry one as if nothing has happened. We have included below part a a mail from City’s planning department that shows they are willing to increase the pollution for the sake of developers profits. 

Turning to “refusing to accept applications”. This is not possible in terms of the bylaw – but this does not imply that any application will be approved. Should we receive a “show stopper” comment from a key technical department – I can assure you that in such cases the likelihood that it will be supported is slim. So the “applications and building plans approved” would have been considered by the engineering departments – and they considered such applications as acceptable incremental development with marginal additional impact on services.

We would have thought that the show stopper would have been the plant being over capacity or that the Constitution guarantees the right to an environment that does not harm us, or that national legislation demand sustainable development that does not damage the environment. But not the City of Cape Town Planning department. Those people just keep passing plans and to hell with the environment!!!!!!!