Water and Sanitation department says it will consider taking the legal route to compel Tshwane municipality to provide clean drinkable water for the residents of Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria.
The department says there’s been very little if no progress at all as far as the work at Rooiwal Waste Water Treatment works is concerned.
Water is a basic human right that has been denied to most people living in Hammanskraal. And the recent termination of the contractor appointed for phase one of the upgrading and refurbishment of the Rooiwal Waste Water treatment works has caused further delays.
For residents like Thabo Mthethwa there’s no hope left. “I don’t think the problem will end anytime soon because it’s been longstanding and looks like it’s meddled with politics.”
Businesses are also feeling the brunt of this problem. “We get reduced water during the day and the level is increased from 10pm until early in the morning. The backup system is also unable to put pressure on days when there’s no water at all,” says carwash owner, Karabo Maluleka
On the other end, it is an opportunity to turn the problem into something profitable. With summer now encroaching, surely the business will be booming during scorching days.
“Water is an essential commodity and I took advantage of the opportunity to sell it, especially in an area where it’s lacking and the business is doing well,” says Street vendor, Siziwe Temeki.
Recently Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu slammed the city of Tshwane for dragging its feet in addressing the problem. And to date, the city still won’t budge.
“There has been as far as we know, no progress in terms of appointing another contractor and that is very critical in terms of ensuring that the plant comes back online and operates optimally. That matter is of great concern for the dept. and we have had engagements with the City of Tshwane which have not borne fruit in the sense that the city has actually delayed a number of meetings that should have been held already,” says Sputnik Ratau: Water & Sanitation spokesperson.
Ratau says the department will continue engaging with the city. If all fails, they’ll go to court. While some organisations have also realised the city’s defects, they’ve however condemned the blame game.
“This kind of pointing the fingers at each other from national to local govt is not going to solve the problem and while they’re doing this the people of Hammanskraal still don’t have clean water to drink. So for us, we think that the Dept of Water & Sanitation needs to take a more active role and hold the City of Tshwane responsible for the lack of delivery and the poor management around an urgent issue about water,” says Outa’s Dr Ferrial Adam.
The close to R300 million project scheduled to have been completed last month after the original completion date was missed in May seems to be far from being finished. Efforts to obtain comment from the Tshwane municipality were not successful.