ActionSA to Appeal Against Permit for City of Cape Town to Pump Raw Sewage into the Ocean

ActionSA is shocked that the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) has approved the City of Cape Town’s application for a permit to continue pumping raw sewage into the ocean at Green Point, Camps Bay and Hout Bay for another five (5) years.

To this end, ActionSA is in the process of finalising its appeal to stop the discharge of entreated effluent being pump into the ocean.

Raw sewage has been pumped into the ocean just off Cape Town’s beaches since the construction of a sewage outfall pipe at Green Point in 1895.  In the early 1920’s, following an enteric fever outbreak, the then chief engineer recommended that all sewage be treated before being discharged into the sea.  Since then, all the City has done is to extend the length of the outflow pipe at Green Point and build new pipes at Camps Bay and Hout Bay.

Numerous agencies and universities have researched the negative impact of these sewage outflows on the environment. The University of Stellenbosch has fiercely opposed the previous permit application in 2015, providing reasons that have neither been addressed nor mentioned in the current DFFE permit approval.

ActionSA notes and applauds the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI)’s objections and appeals against the issuing of these permits.  ActionSA supports the NSRI in its questioning of the legality of discharging raw and untreated sewage into a Marine Protected Area.  To pump raw sewage into a Marine Protected Area is a clear violation of our Constitutional right to an environment that is not harmful to health.

ActionSA has recently launched High Court proceedings in KwaZulu-Natal to prevent further economic devastation to tourism caused by rampant sewage pollution in that province.  ActionSA will similarly take the necessary steps in the Western Cape to protect residents’ health, the environment and the tourism economy.   To this end, ActionSA has met with its attorneys and is in the process of formulating an appeal against the decision to grant the City of Cape Town permission to continue pumping raw sewage into our oceans.

ActionSA urges all Cape Town residents, civil society groups and the South African public to also appeal against the issuing of the permits by writing to Adv. Mokete Rakgogo, Director: Appeals and Legal Review, E-mail: and or