Our Purpose

  • Advocate for the human right to clean and safe water enshrined in law
  • Ensure better accountability by those responsible for the management of sewage and wastewater
  • Inform communities about the existence and dangers of contamination of water bodies (rivers, vleis, dams, oceans etc.)
  • Encourage independent reporting on water and wastewater quality in the media
  • Empower people to actively participate in protecting the environment
  • Initiate, develop and sustain strategic partnerships
  • Communicate sewage related issues
  • Achieve improvement of sanitation service delivery

Our Values

  • Stewardship of our environment
  • We believe in the basic human right to safe, clean water
  • We care about functioning, healthy ecosystems
  • We strive for improvement every day
  • Effectiveness
    • We are professional and human.
    • We combine a high work ethic with domain expertise to drive efficiency and effectiveness
  • Collaboration and partnership
    • We practice partnership with each other, our communities, service providers, and local, provincial and national government
    • We hold a high standard of honesty, integrity and accountability
    • We strive to achieve well serviced communities

Our Aims

  • Enhance responsible management of water resource quality
  • Hold accountable those responsible for causing microbial and chemical pollution
  • The tools we use are chemical and microbial monitoring of impacted water bodies, advocacy, activism, and communication

Our Strategy

  • Identify and define the problem
  • Collect sufficient evidence to prove the problem exists eg scientific papers, water test results, photos, videos, records of complaints made, statements by officials, previous history, and documentation
  • Identify the responsible party and oversight body
  • Report the problem to the relevant authority, if not resolved, escalate to the local councillor and thereafter to Mayco member
  • Consider escalating to oversight body eg DEA&DP, DWS, DEFF if not resolved
  • Share problems being experienced on social media
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  • Consider the use of further legal steps if still not resolved
  • Provide informed comment on policies out for public participation
  • Participate in bodies eg Catchment Forums, Advisory committees which may make recommendations as to management of water bodies
  • Engage with interested and affected parties eg Community Forums, Residents Associations, Activist and Environmental groups as well as officials) via workshops, meetings, webinars and social media aimed at building informed and engaged communities

Our Expertise

      • Scientific understanding of the issues faced
      • Understanding of the health implications of polluted water
      • IT & marketing skills and business management
      • Experience in education and awareness raising
      • Negotiating and communication skills
      • Technical understanding of the challenges involved
      • Understanding of the relevant legislation
      • Ability to drive a project to completion
      • Ongoing contact with the academic and activist community


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    • Understanding of the relevant government structures at a local, provincial and national level
    • Understanding of the legal resources available both governmental
      (eg Public Protector) and Non governmental (eg Human Rights Commission, Legal Resource Center, OUTA etc

Our Track Record

    • Directors Caroline Marx, Peter Walsh and Prof Leslie Petrik have a track record of highlighting issues to be investigated and raised with relevant authorities, and escalating these if not addressed
    • We have been actively involved in water activism since 2014 engaging with City of Cape Town (CoCT) Councillors and officials on behalf of local community organisations, such as residents’ associations
    • Currently engaging at Mayoral, Provincial and National Minister level
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    • RethinkTheStink is now registered as an NPC (NPC Reg No K2022279109) as a dedicated NPO for the planned activities with its own dedicated bank account and financial officer
    • RethinkTheStink has existed for several years as a communication brand used on Facebook by the Milnerton Central Residents Association to draw attention to the problem of untreated and poorly treated sewage flowing into the Diep river and Milnerton Lagoon from various sources including the Potsdam Wastewater treatment plant (WWTP), which has polluted the DiepRiver and the Milnerton Estuary very significantly, causing widespread ecosystem damage
    • #RethinkTheStink has a track record of achieving directives against a defaulting municipality
    • RethinkTheStink has already worked closely with the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) legal team and have developed the expertise and professional profile to negotiate with various stakeholders in an effort to hold those responsible for addressing the pollution accountable
    • This has resulted in substantial increases to budget allocations and improved service delivery targets in the City of Cape Town
    • The City has most recently allocated more than R300 million to rehabilitate three vleis and R57 million to improve infrastructure-related water quality in our vleis.