The Department of Water and Sanitation continues to tighten its firm hand on illegal water use.Another Estcourt farmer in KwaZulu-Natal was made to pay a whopping R1.5 million administrative fee for conducting illegal and unauthorised water use activities, in contravention of the National Water Act. The farmer, Nigel Pres Blaker who is an owner of South Downs and Portion 1 Winchester farms, under the Pongola to uMzimkhulu Water Management Area, was found to have contravened and violated his Water Use License by going beyond the boundary or limit when he constructed an illegal dam in his farm without the required Water Use Authorisation. The unlawful activity was discovered during a compliance monitoring inspection carried out back in 2018 and subsequently, a notice of intention to issue a directive in terms of section 53(1) (a) of the National Water Act of 1998 was issued. A directive was later issued, instructing Blaker to cease unlawful water uses and demolish the unlawful dam.
After exhausting all the available avenues, the Department opened a criminal case against the farmer with South African Police Services (SAPS) in Estcourt.DWS’ Director for Compliance, Monitoring, and Enforcement, Thandi Mopai said on 19 January this year, the Department entered into a mediation agreement with Blaker to pay an amount of 1.5 million rands administrative fee for constructing an illegal dam for the use of water in his farming business. “On 19 January 2023, a mediation agreement between Blaker and the Department was reached and as a result, an administrative fee of R 1.5 million was paid by Blaker to the Department’s account,” said Mopai. As part of mediation between the parties, it was agreed that Blaker shall apply for the Water Use Authorisation for illegal dam within 60 days and the Department concurred that the application will be subjected to normal processes. This is part of the ongoing work by the Department as a regulator of the water and sanitation sector, to uproot and eradicate all unauthorised and illegal use of water resources.