By Sizwe Dlamini | 2019-01-09
THE community near Lufafa Gold Mine woke up to hundreds of dead fish floating on the doubtedlessly poisonous waters of the Mlumati River.
The aforementioned river supports thousands of communities at Lufafa, Hhelehhele, Mbasheni, Ntfonjeni, Zibonele, Emvembili, Matsamo, Timphisini and Driekoppies on a daily bases.
According to Caretaker Chief of Hhelehhele Prince Mankenya, the Mlumati River waters became poisonous after the new administration of a nearby source of the poison dumped litres upon litres of toxic waste into the river on Monday evening.
After dumping the poisonous substance, fish started to die immediately.
The dead fish was floating on the surface of the running and still waters where impoverished local children began harvesting, much to the anger of the adults who feared that the dead dish might be poisonous and unsafe for human consumption.
Elders from the community then approached the caretaker chief to report the crisis. Prince Mankenya was immediately dispatched to enquire from the source of the toxic waste yesterday morning where he claims he was indeed informed by the authorities there that they did dump some water into the river but it was not poisons enough to kill the fish.
“I went to the new administration at source and they rudely told me that they did pour some water into the Mlumati River on Monday but what they poured was not potent enough to kill the fish in such large numbers. This angered me because it showed that the administrators do not care about the local community who rely on the Mlumati River for a multitude of uses like washing, drinking water and cooking. It is a real shame because the Mlumati River feeds a lot of communities in the Kingdom of Eswatini and the neighbouring Republic of South Africa,” he said.
Numerous attempts were made by this publication to speak to the administration at the source of the poison but authorities there did not answer their cellphones .
When reached for comment, Communications Officer at the Eswatini Environment Authority (EEA) Belusile Mhlanga said any member of the public could report the incident to the EEA to open an official investigation that will involve the Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS).
“In such cases, anybody can report the incident to the EEA and then we can investigate using an accredited laboratory. After we find the cause of the pollution, then we can involve the police who will make the arrest. After the arrest, the guilty party will pay a fine based on the evidence we have collected,” she said. At the time of compiling this report, other homesteads around the river were yet to spot the dead fish.
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