No significant progress regarding water situation in Hammanskraal: Mashaba

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ActionSA leader, Herman Mashaba says there’s still no significant progress regarding the water situation in Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria. This as residents are still drinking dirty water.

Mashaba says only 30% of the multi-million rand Rooiwal Water Treatment Plant project has been executed. He visited Rooiwal Waste Water Treatment Plant recently. 

For years the people of Hammanskraal and surrounding areas have been without clean drinkable water. This is due to the ageing plant at Rooiwal Waste Water Treatment Plant, discharging sludge into the Apies River, which in turn supplies water into the Temba water treatment plant. 

“They are unable to purify the water clearly because really when you open the tap that odour you can see. Sometimes they try to put a lot of chlorophyme  you find the water is clear but when tasting it then it causes diarrhoea. Whatever they put in there sometimes cause diarrhoea for people,” says Oupa Skhosana an aggrieved resident.

Last year, the City of Tshwane announced and launched a R2.1 billion project to expand the capacity of Rooiwal Waste Water Treatment plant. However, until now the plant is still unable to perform well.

Now clarity is needed on how the contractors were appointed and on timelines set for the project to be concluded. 

“And the second company is called CMC Water Treatment from Orkney. These are the two main contractors. Now what we wanted to understand is how did this two companies get involved. More especially, Blackhead Consulting which now the owner is out on bail for the failure of delivering the asbestos project in the Free State,” says Mashaba.

He says his party will conduct its own probe into the state of the water and take submissions from residents, including farmers.

“So the decision for us as ActionSA is that we don’t have time to waste any longer because people of Hammanskraal are not just suffering from getting undrinkable water. People are dying. We’ve got two of the activist who have been involved with this project for many years. So we’ve taken a decision we are going to conduct our own public hearings.”

The City of Tshwane says work is still in progress and the project has been divided into four phases with the first one valued at R370 million.

City of Tshwane’s MMC for Utility Services is Philip Nel explains: “A contractor was appointed in 2019 to complete the first phase of this refurbishment that involves work to the civil structure, the mechanical and electrical installations. Approximately, one third of the work has been completed and the project remains on schedule for completion by May of 2022. This upgrade will also involve improvements to the sludge treatment system that will reduce further pollution down stream into the Apies river.”

ActionSA’s proposal for public hearings comes hot on the heels of the South African Human Rights Commission’s one-day water inquiry. 

The South African Human Rights Commission met with the community to inform them of the quality of their drinking water following tests conducted by the CSIR.

The Deputy Minister of Water and Sanitation, David Mahlobo, has urged the City of Tshwane to own up to the problem with the water supply in Hammanskraal and to urgently come up with a solution to fix it.

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