Close to two decades since the water crisis started in Hammanskraal north of Pretoria and there is still no resolution.
Residents now say they fear for their lives.
The frustrated communities in the area say they are on the brink of a serious health crisis, while some are left traumatised by human faeces found in their tap water.
“You can boil faeces all you like, you can’t get rid of it, it’s faeces,” a startling testimony from Lungi Thobejane.
Even when boiled, the water remains toxic.
To protect her health, Thobejane bought a water purifying machine.
“We become angry and then we can’t express ourselves the way we are so angry because of this thing of water. It’s not the first time, and it’s been a long time that we are crying about the water but there’s nothing that’s happening,” says Thobejane.
Another resident Thabo Mashilo says, “The water we are drinking is dirty and people are getting sick. People are experiencing diarrhoea and remember we have kids here in the village, they are also sick.”
Another resident, Engineer Nelly Sebopa, who has studied the water quality intensely, paints a traumatising picture.
“We have water that is coming out of the taps that’s contaminated with human faeces. That is unacceptable in any language anywhere. You don’t need scientific proof that water is dirty when it’s contaminated with faeces. What happens is that sometimes it’s so contaminated, it’s visible sometimes it’s a bit clearer, but all in all the water is not fit for human consumption.”
The local tribal authority, inundated with complaints, has appealed to government and private business to urgently assist in resolving the matter.
City of Tshwane under criticism
The water crisis stems close to two decades and the City of Tshwane has been under heavy criticism for dragging its feet in resolving the problem.
— andrew sithole (@blessed_dru) August 24, 2021
This is tap water in Hammanskraal in 2021.This govt can to better pic.twitter.com/S4fpmusMKD
— Jdee Tladi Lesojane (@lekotajt) August 25, 2021
The City acknowledged that the biggest challenge is at the Rooiwal Waste Water treatment plant.
Tshwane Mayor Randall Williams says phase one of the upgrade process is currently underway.
“The failure is at Rooiwal. So far, we have refurbished Rooiwal at 54%. We need to have Rooiwal up to a 100% then the type of water that Rooiwal will push through to Themba will then guarantee portable water.”
However, for this desperate community, the feedback by the Tshwane Mayor is rhetoric echoed by all politicians who have led the Tshwane Municipality since the dawn of democracy.
As the water crisis continue to strip the dignity of the community, there is little faith that politicians will solve the problem.
Earlier this month, ActionSA tabled a damning report on the water crisis in Hammanskraal.
The report found that the water can cause deadly diseases like cancer and has a severe impact on people’s nervous system, due to toxic iron and copper levels, as outlined in the video below: