Lobby group in Ward 48 lobbies for clean rivers

ARMOUR (Action for Responsible Management of Our Rivers) was initiated by Helen and Anthony Duigan, residents of Hills and Dales in Ward 48, in October 2015.  It was the outcome of a campaign that included a widely-circulated petition to highlight weeks of sewerage dumping into the Jukskei River by Joburg Water’s Northern Purification Works at Diepsloot.

The reaction was swift and Joburg Water found emergency funding to do maintenance work on Northern Works, neglected for years.  But it was realized that without ongoing pressure on the authorities to meet their responsibilities for managing Gauteng’s rivers, especially the Hennops, Jukskei and Crocodile, the same thing was likely to happen again.

Thus, ARMOUR was formally constituted as “A Voice for Water”, with a committee and a mandate to work with civil society in a drive to turn our rivers and wetlands into clean, living waterways.

“For the past two years, ARMOUR has met regularly with Joburg Water and the Department of Water and Sanitation to lobby for comprehensive responses to pollution of Gauteng’s rivers,” says Anthony Duigan.  “This has led to major upgrading of Northern Purification Works which had severely polluted the Jukskei River in 2015.”

While ARMOUR’s initial focus has been on the Jukskei and Crocodile Rivers, the intention is to include Hennops River and its tributaries coming from Ekurhuleni.

ARMOUR now has its own constitution and is applying for registration as a Non-Profit Organisation.  A business plan is in draft form.

“We continue to seek out partners within the water community and are currently engaging with Prof Chris Curtis, Head of Geography Department at Wits University and Deputy Director of Wits’ Centre in Water Research & Development (CiWaRD),” he added.   “The intention is to identify projects that honours’ and masters’ students in environmental studies can tackle to assist in understanding and better managing the waterways.”