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Board slams BDS for bringing terrorist Khaled

SAJBD chair Mary Kluk (pic) is furious with BDS-SA for their announcement last week that they would be bringing notorious plane hijacker Leila Khaled to SA as its guest for a series of fundraising talks next month. The pre-publicity “depicts Khaled holding an AK-47 and represents her past hijacking” of one plane & an attempted hijacking of another “as something to be admired,” scowls Kluk.

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ANT KATZ

“With the world still reeling from the horrific terrorist attacks carried out in Africa, Asia, Europe and Australia, the Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has announced that it will be bringing notorious plane hijacker Leila Khaled to South Africa as its guest next month,” said the SA Jewish Board of Deputies’ national chairman, Mary Kluk today.

Khaled Leila


RIGHT: The Leila Khaled pre-publicity campaign


In its pre-publicity campaign, says Kluk, BDS-SA, the local affiliate of a US-based NGO, “depicts Khaled holding an AK-47 and represents her past hijacking of a US airliner from Rome to Athens, and an attempted hijacking of an Israeli airliner, as something to be admired.    

“Terrorism, whether carried out for political, religious or any other reasons, is both a crime against humanity and a deadly threat to world peace,” said Kluk.

Khaled Leila Planes


LEFT: Leila Khaled was involved in the planning and execution of multiple-plane hijackings in the late 1960s – like this one landing in the Jordanian desert


Kluk went on to say that the Board is therefore “appalled that any organisation, especially one purporting to be a human rights movement, intends bringing a known perpetrator of these acts to this country.”

By depicting Leila Khaled as a heroic figure whom South Africans should look up to and identify with, BDS is sending out the worst possible message at a time when South Africa needs to stand with the global community in confronting the scourge of terrorism.

Notorious for fostering hatred & division in SA

“BDS-SA is notorious for activities that foster hatred and division between South Africans so as to further its vendetta against anyone and anything associated with the State of Israel,” said Kluk in a media statement.

 “Among other things, its supporters have sung ‘Shoot the Jew’ at anti-Israel rallies, threatened and intimidated Woolworths employees and deposited a pig’s head in a Woolworths store as a way of ‘sending a message’ to South African Jewry.”

Khaled Leila Planes


RIGHT: Mohammed Desai of BDS who orchestrated the activities at Wits where “Shoot the Jew” was sung in his presence


 

By inviting Khaled to this country, said Kluk, BDS-SA had “conclusively demonstrated yet again that it has no interest in promoting peace, dialogue, reconciliation or understanding”.

On the contrary, she added, “it is a movement quite prepared to market even a known terrorist in order to further its extremist, hate-filled agenda.

South Africans, particularly in these fraught and dangerous times, should make it clear that they want nothing whatever to do with such offensive tactics.

 “The SAJBD is committed to any constructive initiative in bringing about peace to the Middle East,” said Kluk.

More on this story on Jewish Report Online:


07 JAN:
LEILA KHALED IN SA SPEAKING TOUR NEXT MONTH + 3 Comments

10 JAN: SAIPAC’s HERSCH TO GOV’T: DON’T LET LEILA INTO SA + 4 Comments

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. abu mamzer

    Jan 12, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    ‘Let’s not forget minister Rehavam Zeévi,murdered by the PFLP’

  2. Choni

    Jan 12, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    ‘I say \”bring her in.\” More young Jews will make Aliyah.’

  3. Choni

    Jan 12, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    ‘Is this a joke? Arafat, and Abbas , the biggest Jew killers since Hitler were not only allowed into this country but also ‘welcomed’ by the S.A.J.B.D.

    Now you have the ‘chutzpah’ to complain about a has-been terrorist.’

  4. Mordechai

    Jan 12, 2015 at 9:51 pm

    ‘Is this the same Mary Kluk and SAJBD who met with Abbas’

  5. Mordechai

    Jan 12, 2015 at 10:07 pm

    ‘Following from my previous post this is the same SAJBD chair Mary Kluk who \”broke bread\” with Abbas, denier of the Holocaust, President of an organization (the PA) who is in government with Hamas, who wants to take Israel to the ICC etc, etc. My advice to Mary Kluk is to resign as chair of the SAJBD, apologise to Israel and world Jewry for meeting Abbas and telling us what a \”great guy\” he is, and then to look in the mirror and contemplate her meeting Abbas and trying to justify the meeting’

  6. Mordechai

    Jan 13, 2015 at 4:32 am

    ‘Choni, I could not agree with you more – you are 100% correct.’

  7. BDS WORKS

    Jan 13, 2015 at 8:08 am

    ‘Article on Leila Khaled from the last time she was in South Africa (& met with Nelson Mandela) –> https://www.iol.co.za/news/politics/time-for-sanctions-against-israel-khaled-1.285400?ot=inmsa.ArticlePrintPageLayout.ot

  8. Denis Solomons

    Jan 13, 2015 at 8:43 am

    ‘Leila Khaled shouldn’t be allowed into the country and she definitely shouldn’t be allowed to speak!

    The country cannot harbour and encourage terrorists !

  9. David Hersch

    Jan 13, 2015 at 9:57 am

    ‘BDS, the self-justification and ex post facto invented justification of a dastardly crime does not let you or this horrid terrorist off the hook.

    The hijackings

    TWA Flight 840 (1969)

    On August 29, 1969, Khaled was part of a team that hijacked TWA Flight 840 on its way from Rome to Athens, diverting the Boeing 707 to Damascus. No one was injured, but the aircraft was blown up after hostages had disembarked. According to some media sources, the PFLP leadership thought that Yitzhak Rabin, then Israeli ambassador to the United States, would be on board. This was, however, denied by Khaled and others. After this hijacking, and after a now famous picture of her holding an AK-47 rifle

    and wearing a kaffiyeh was widely published, she

    underwent six plastic surgery operations on her nose and chin to conceal her identity and allow her to take part in a future hijacking.

    El Al Flight 219 (1970)

    On September 6, 1970, Khaled and Patrick Argüello, a Nicaraguan-American, attempted the hijack of El Al Flight 219 from Amsterdam to New York City as part of the Dawson’s Field hijackings, a series of almost simultaneous hijackings carried out by the PFLP. The attack was foiled, when Israeli sky marshals killed Argüello before eventually overpowering Khaled. Although she was carrying two hand grenades at

    the time, Khaled said she had received very strict instructions not to threaten passengers on the civilian flight. (Argüello shot a member of the flight crew).

    The pilot diverted the aircraft to Heathrow airport in London, where Khaled was delivered to Ealing police station. On October 1, the British government released her as part of a prisoner exchange. The next

    year, the PFLP abandoned the tactic of hijacking, although splinter movements would continue to hijack airplanes.

    Dawson’s Field hijackings

    In the Dawson’s Field hijackings (6 September 1970), four jet aircraft bound for New York City and one for London were hijacked by members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and instead landed at the PFLP’s \”Revolutionary Airport\”. By the end of the incident, one hijacker had been killed and one injury reported.

    TWA Flight 741 from Frankfurt am Main (a Boeing 707) and Swissair Flight 100 from Zürich-Kloten Airport (a Douglas DC-8) landed at Dawson’s Field, a remote

    desert airstrip near Zarka, Jordan, formerly used as a

    British Royal Air Force base.

    The hijacking of El Al Flight 219 from Amsterdam (another 707) was foiled: hijacker Patrick Argüello was shot and killed, and his partner Leila Khaled was subdued and turned over to British authorities in London. Two PFLP hijackers who were prevented

    from boarding the El Al flight instead hijacked Pan Am Flight 93, a Boeing 747, diverting the large plane first to Beirut and then to Cairo rather than the small Jordanian airstrip.

    A fifth plane, BOAC Flight 775, a Vickers VC10 coming from Bahrain, was hijacked on 9 September by a PFLP sympathizer and brought to Dawson’s Field in order to

    pressure the British to free Khaled. 

    While the majority of the 310 hostages were transferred to Amman and freed on 11 September the PFLP segregated the flight crews and Jewish passengers, keeping the 56 Jewish hostages in custody, while releasing the non-Jews. Six hostages in particular were kept because they were men and

    American citizens, not necessarily Jews. The six men held in particular were Dr. Robert Norman Schwartz, a U.S. Defense Department researcher stationed in

    Bangkok, Thailand; James Lee Woods, Dr. Schwartz’s assistant and security detail; Geral Berkowitz, an American-born Jew and college chemistry professor;

    Rabbi Abraham Harrari-Raful and his brother Rabbi Joseph Harrari-Raful, two Brooklyn school teachers; and John Hollingsworth, a U.S. State Department

    employee. Dr. Schwartz was a catholic. On 12 September prior to their announced deadline, the PFLP used explosives to destroy the empty planes, as they anticipated a counterstrike.

    The PFLP’s exploitation of Jordanian territory in the drama was another instance of the increasingly autonomous Arab Palestinian activity within the Kingdom of Jordan – a serious challenge to the Hashemite monarchy of King Hussein. Hussein declared martial law on 16 September and from 17 to 27 September his forces deployed into Palestinian-controlled areas in what became known as Black

    September in Jordan, nearly triggering a regional war involving Syria, Iraq, and Israel with potentially global consequences.

    Swift Jordanian victory, however, enabled a 30 September deal in which the remaining PFLP hostages were released in exchange for Khaled and three PFLP members in a Swiss prison.

    Leila Khaled remain an unpunished international criminal and terrorist and nothing from BDS or any other Islamic body tap-dancing around the real facts can or will change this and she should not be allowed int South Africa.’

  10. nat cheiman

    Jan 16, 2015 at 4:19 am

    ‘BDS in fact should be declared an unlawful org. but this is not going to happen. SA is the laughing stock of the world at the moment. Sapo bankrupt . SAA bankrupt. No electricity (Eskom bankrupt). The government bankrupt and devoid of moral fibre.

    Can you imagine IS having free reign here or even Boko Haram?

    Our army and police are not trained to deal with all of this. Khaled and BDS are just the beginning of what is happening in Europe and I hope I am WRONG!!!!!!!!!’

  11. Choni

    Jan 16, 2015 at 6:57 am

    ‘You’re not wrong at all Nat . In fact you are 100% right.

    S.Africa is NOT good for Jews. Never will be.

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Major parties undermined by “angrier, poorer” electorate

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South Africans go to the polls on 1 November in “elections that no parties really want”, according to political journalist Stephen Grootes. In the midst of a pandemic, established parties are losing support “and people have become angrier and poorer” since the last local government elections in 2016.

Grootes was moderating a webinar on Tuesday, 12 October, titled “Navigate the local government elections 2021”, organised by the South African Jewish Board of Deputies. The webinar is part of the Board’s mandate to encourage voter registration in the Jewish community, formally observe the elections, and promote political debate.

Are these municipal elections about service delivery or about elements of identity in the context of South Africa’s racialised inequality? According to Nompumelelo Runji, the founder and chief executive of Critical ThinkAR – a research and stakeholder management consultancy – it’s a little bit of both in this highly polarised society.

“Good governance isn’t just about clean audits, sewage infrastructure, and tarred roads,” she said. For many, the yardstick is whether their quality of life is improving or not. They are asking if the African National Congress (ANC) can really deliver for all rather than the elite few.

Political analyst Dr Ralph Mathekga also senses popular anger, but no consolidation of support by any political party to capitalise on the ANC’s failures. “The ANC is held back by its own history,” he said, and hopes to get by on mea culpas [acknowledgement of wrongdoing] and faith. “It’s the devil people know,” Mathekga said. He judged that talk of renewal in the ANC was illusory, describing it as “a party in great difficulty”. “Corruption has been democratised in local government, with mammoth irregularities in public procurement,” Mathekga said, pointing out that criminal elements like protection rackets have filled the vacuum where the state has retreated.

Runji said local elections were “a vehicle for employment, a jobs pipeline for parties. Capacity and skills are trumped by factional allegiances. There is a failure to adhere to financial governance practices like the PFMA [Public Finance Management Act] and the MFMA [Municipal Finance Management Act].” She characterised the problem as a toxic mix of lack of responsibility, no accountability, deficient oversight, and a dearth of consequences for maladministration. “Party loyalty and dynamics become more important than delivering services,” she said.

Wayne Sussman, elections analyst for Daily Maverick, views it as a unique election in which the two major parties have little momentum 20 days before the vote.

“There are only 400 members of parliament, but there are far more council positions up for grabs,” said Sussman. In an environment of high unemployment, the prospect of a middle-class job for five years in a municipal council has proved enticing for many. Independent candidates have mushroomed, and he expects them to do marginally better because of their sheer volume. “They will find it hard to influence politics in the metros, but they will play a role in this election,” Sussman said.

Looking at opposition parties, will the Democratic Alliance (DA) be punished at the polls? A lot depends on differential turnout, according to Sussman. If the suburbs come out in numbers and disillusioned ANC voters stay at home, “the DA may not do that badly. It was the first out of the starting blocks with its posters. But to use a rugby analogy, with the try-line in front of them, they have had knock-on after knock-on in the past week.” He predicts that the party will retain Cape Town and be the biggest or second biggest party in all the country’s metropolitan councils.

“The DA seems to want to attract controversy and get into trouble, and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has no plans to co-operate with anyone,” Mathekga said. “It would be shocked if it actually won a council.” He agreed that the DA often failed to read the public mood, and didn’t appear to have a real strategy for the Gauteng metros. The EFF is growing in South Africa’s neglected small towns, and the party may emerge as kingmaker in several councils, like it did in 2016. But its refusal to commit to coalitions makes for unstable politics. There is the real chance that some councils will be deadlocked and unable to agree on the election of a speaker, a mayor, and to pass the council budget. If they fail to do the latter, they will come under national administration. The speakers predicted there may be chaos like this in Tshwane, the nation’s capital.

Sussman is also carefully watching the performance of former Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba’s ActionSA, which has taken a gamble by contesting only in Gauteng’s three metros (Johannesburg, Tshwane, and Ekurhuleni) and in three municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal. It has run a slick social-media campaign. “He has to do well on election night,” Sussman said. “If he does badly, it’s probably the end.”

Finally, the panellists agreed there was merit in retaining separate municipal elections, as it promoted local-level democracy. This particular election will certainly make for interesting analysis in the weeks to come.

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Back to Africa: shlicha’s journey comes full circle in Cape Town

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Exactly 30 years ago, emissaries from the Jewish Agency came to Ethiopia to tell Batya Shmueli’s family that “the way to Jerusalem is open”. Soon after, at the age of 11, she made aliyah as part of Operation Solomon. Now, she has returned to the continent of her birth as a shaliach (emissary) of the Jewish Agency, closing the circle.

She and her husband, Hed Shmueli, and their three children arrived in Cape Town as shlichim the week before Pesach. She has taken on the role of aliyah and community shlicha while he is working as head of Israel education at United Herzlia Schools. With roots in Ethiopia, Romania, and Iraq, they bring the diversity of Israeli society to the southern tip of Africa.

“We always felt we would do shlichut in America or Canada,” says Shmueli. “But when we met Cape Town community leaders Esta Levitas and Julie Berman, we immediately connected and knew this was the community for us.”

It hasn’t been a simple journey. “When we were told we could come to Israel, my father was 81 years old. Every Jew in Ethiopia had waited for this moment. It was the first time I saw my father cry,” Shmueli recalls. The family had lived a difficult life, needing to hide their Jewish identity and battle for survival. While the flight was a moment of joy, adapting to life in Israel wasn’t easy.

“We lived in a caravan near a small town in the Galilee. After living there for three years, I attended boarding school. It was a tremendous culture shock,” she says. Wanting to blend in and be accepted, she threw off her family’s religious values and tried to become a secular teenager. “I even made my hair blonde!” she laughs. She learned Hebrew quickly, and tried to distance herself from her parents and her past.

But after school, she finally started to embrace her history and identity as an Ethiopian Jew. She found out that it was members of the Israeli Navy along with Mossad who had come to Sudan to help Ethiopian Jews come to Israel, and became inspired to join the navy during her army service to “close the circle”. Eventually, she served in the Israeli Navy with an elite naval commando unit.

“My father passed away before he could see me in uniform. So many people helped me in my journey in Israel. This was my opportunity to serve and give back,” she says.

It was in the navy that she met Hed whose family came to Israel from Iraq and Romania. He also had a connection to Africa. “After tragically losing his father, who was only 51 years old, he decided to take himself on a journey to discover the world. Being an artist and sculptor, he spent time as a volunteer arts project leader in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Eritrea, and learning traditional East-African wood carving in Kenya,” says Shmueli.

“After returning to Israel, the Israeli ministry of foreign affairs sponsored an artists’ mission to Dakar, Senegal. Hed was involved in co-ordinating and leading a group of Israeli artists sent as cultural representatives to Senegal for Israel’s 60th birthday celebrations.”

She also travelled after the army, spending a year in Los Angeles. It was there than she began to regret turning away from her identity and vowed “to return to my roots and culture”.

“I cried a lot that year, thinking about the pain and loss that my parents’ generation felt,” Shmueli says. “I wanted to go back to Israel and explain who we are as Ethiopian Jews. I wanted to be the voice of my parents.”

Returning to Israel, she realised she couldn’t “wait to be invited” to share her story, she had to just start doing it. She began to address audiences, sharing Ethiopian Jewish customs, culture, and cooking. She also got her Bachelor of Arts from Haifa University, where she studied teaching and the history of the Jewish people. She later received her Master’s degree in the history of Israel and Jewish law.

She then developed a programme that taught students about leadership and responsibility. In 2009, she returned to Ethiopia with the Israeli foreign ministry to teach village women about entrepreneurship. For the past 11 years, she has been fundraising for new immigrant populations.

When deciding where to raise their family, the Shmuelis chose to settle in the beautiful artists’ village of Ein Hod. It was a very secular community, however, so they decided to bring their passion for Judaism into the fold by commissioning a Sefer Torah for the village. It was made in the name of their late fathers, who had taught them to hold onto their Jewish heritage no matter what. “One thousand people came to the hachnasat [welcoming] Torah event,” recalls Shmueli. “There were Israelis from every sector of society.”

Eighteen years ago, they also opened their home to travellers hiking the Israel National Trail from the south to the north of Israel. Calling it “Avraham’s Tent”, they hosted more than 20 000 travellers.

The Shmuelis bring all of this passion and purpose with them to their shlichut in Cape Town. Their determination has seen them through delay in arrival as a result of the pandemic. In addition, their three children battled with being uprooted and being under lockdown.

“Israel is a country of children, and there is so much freedom for kids. So they have struggled, but we feel this is the best gift we can give them,” says Shmueli. “We are showing them that they belong to the Jewish people, and to bring that opportunity for connection to others.”

They believe they are in the right place at the right time. “After 20 minutes of talking to Esta and Julie, we looked at each other and said, ‘This is the correct place for us’. It’s a unique community with a unique history. This isn’t just about a new job, it’s something much deeper. We feel it’s the time to support the Jewish community.”

They have spent the past few months immersing themselves in the community and its organisations. “It’s so unique. It’s not every day that you see a community where all the Jewish children go to the same school and where there is so much support for everyone who needs it,” she says.

Just like she was given so many opportunities when she started her new life in Israel, she wants to create awareness about the possibilities that Israel provides, especially for the younger generation. She wants to help the youth feel proud of their heritage and connection with Israel.

“I want to be a bridge between Israel and South Africa,” she says. “We live our shlichut day and night, and are here for the community at any time. And we are here to learn from you too.”

They plan to meet people from all walks of life, sharing the diversity of their family and Israeli society. “We won’t apologise for who we are … we stand strong,” says Shmueli. At the same time, she encourages questions, discussion, and debate.

“The Ethiopian Jewish community never gave up on their dream of going to Jerusalem,” she says. Being part of the generation that got to go back to Israel means that she sees her shlichut as a continuation of that journey. “To be back in Africa as Israelis for the Jewish community – I thank G-d for showing us the way.”

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Israeli company brings SA dam back to life

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Just before Pesach this year, the SA Jewish Report detailed how leading global “watertech” company, BlueGreen Water Technologies, was assisting local government authorities to transform toxic water into healthy drinking water at Setumo Dam on the Molopo River in North West province.

Six months later, the company has announced that its water clean-up intervention has been successfully completed. For the first time in decades, the people of Mahikeng are receiving safe drinking water from their main water supply source, which was severely contaminated by toxic algae blooms. The project was in collaboration with Sedibeng Water, the company overseen by the Department of Water and Sanitation.

“BlueGreen is committed to making water safe,” says Eyal Harel, the chief executive and co-founder of the company. “We undertook this project pro-bono, knowing it was the only chance for this community to access clean drinking water, enjoy Setumo Dam as a safe water source, and unleash its potential for recreational purposes. We wish to empower local authorities to reclaim their water sources and advance the health and livelihood of their communities.

“To clear Setumo Dam was an unprecedented technical and operational challenge, with far-reaching consequences for the rural community that relies on it,” he told the SA Jewish Report. “The project has not only confirmed BlueGreen’s ability to remediate lakes under the toughest conditions, but also improved water quality and water availability. Setumo Dam can now be used not only as a source of drinking water but also as a local attraction for recreation. The economic development possibilities in and around the lake are far-reaching.”

The outbreak at Setumo Dam was considered one of the worst cases in South Africa. The heavy load of blue-green algae was the result of decades of insufficiently treated sewage being released directly into the dam. The dam’s size and level of contamination had deemed it “untreatable”.

BlueGreen’s treatment protocol was tailored to the unique conditions in Setumo Dam by BlueGreen’s field specialists. It also eliminated unpleasant taste and odour compounds from the drinking water.

“The unique situation we found in the field brought about two previously unaddressed challenges,” says Harel. “The first was the rural location and lack of basic infrastructure. This mandated an out-of-the-box logistical adaptation so that our treatment could be delivered timely and accurately.

“In addition, we encountered extreme biological conditions that rendered the entire dam a dead aquatic zone. Reviving the lake meant tailoring a specific treatment protocol that would reverse infectious processes that have been dominating the dam for decades, and give a fighting chance to non-toxic species that would enhance the lake’s biodiversity. As time went by, changes became evident from treatment, not only in the colour of the water, but a clear change in the number of animals, primarily birds, approaching the water, as well as an increase in their diversity.

“Shortly before starting treatment, we witnessed the local community performing rituals that involved entering Setumo Dam’s toxic water. We saw some fishermen trying to catch the few small fish that survived the harsh conditions. We grasped how under-developed the area was, in spite of its amazing potential. And we realised that once cleaned, we wouldn’t just improve the health and livelihood of the people around Setumo Dam, we would create a historical opportunity for local authorities to turn the lake into a place that could bring about much-needed development and prosperity.”

Asked if the company will work in South Africa again, Harel says, “As part of our work at Setumo Dam, we tried to establish an economic model that will allow us to repeat this in other under-developed areas in South Africa and around the world. We have established that a clean Setumo Dam saves the local community as much as 90% of their ongoing drinking water production cost! We hope that these findings will push other communities into action to reclaim and revive their water sources.

“Years of drought, pollution, growing population, and global warming have all contributed to South Africa’s deteriorating water availability and water quality,” he says. “Water has turned into a matter of national security. BlueGreen has made it part of its business to support local, rural communities, and establish their basic human right to clean water. Our means to remediate Setumo Dam’s water couldn’t have been put into play if not for the tremendous help of local government, including South Africa’s Department of Water and Sanitation and Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, local water boards (Sedibeng Water and Rand Water), as well as the active support of our local partners, AECI group and Capitol Air. This united effort and commitment by so many is heartwarming, and an encouraging indication of South Africa’s innate ability to overcome great challenges.”

Jurgens van Loggerenberg, the director of Africa for BlueGreen Water Technologies says, “The project has had a positive impacted on more than half a million lives as a direct result of improved water quality. Setumo Dam’s high cyanobacterial cell content [billions of cells per millilitre] far surpassed the levels deemed safe and approved by the World Health Organization and the South African Bureau of Standards.

“The heavy organic load was also disrupting the ability of the local water treatment plant to operate, increasing the overall costs substantially and keeping the final water quality well below national and international standards. This historical achievement is the result of a joint effort that included the Department of Water and Sanitation, Sedibeng Water, and Rand Water Analytical Services working together.”

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