Today ActionSA visited the Rooiwal Waste Water Treatment Plant in Hammanskraal to reveal the continued failure of the City of Tshwane to address the water crisis for the people of Hammanskraal and surrounding communities.
Despite the shocking story of the water quality issues reaching their zenith in 2017, the City of Tshwane has seemingly made no progress whatsoever in improving the water quality in Hammanskraal. The South African Human Rights Commission has not published findings in their investigation and no public hearings have been called.
Of greatest shock is the news that the City of Tshwane awarded a R295 million tender to maintain and upgrade the Rooiwal Waste Water Treatment Plant to a joint venture including Blackhead Consulting, a company owned by Edwin Sodi. This project would have been essential to increase the plants capacity and address the cause of the water crisis – the continued leaking of sewerage into the ground water. To the best of our knowledge, no discernible work has taken place that has generated any improvement.
I have been joined by members of the Hammanskraal community as well as representatives from nearby farms, both of whom are severely impacted by the failure to address this problem.
The community of Hammanskraal continue to experience declining water quality levels, complaining about the colouration, smell and taste of the water. The last round of water tests conducted by the CSIR found the water levels containing levels of nitrates which were unfit for human consumption. I grew up in Hammanskraal, and I am furious that this Tshwane coalition government has provided poorer water quality then I grew up with under Apartheid.
The nearby farming community are experiencing silting of the waterways and contamination of the borehole water due to the rising levels of contamination. With the pressures on agriculture already, the continuation of this crisis is threatening the livelihoods of these farms.
The continuation of the Hammanskraal water crisis, 4 years after it was front page news across the country, is a colossal failure. The fact that 3 different DA Executive Mayors and an ANC Provincial Administrator could not fix this issue in 4 years reveals how the people of Tshwane have been failed.
Former Mayor Solly Msimanga campaigned on the promise to fix the water problem and even laid the complaint at the SAHRC that led to the investigation. Former Mayor Stevens Mokgalapa drank the water (once) as a PR stunt to contest the view that its quality was problematic and current Mayor, Randall Williams, is silent on this issue and most others for that matter.
The real truth is that Tshwane has been a failure for many years and the promise that came with unseating the ANC in 2016 has been broken. It does not matter whether you are black or white or where you live, the residents of Tshwane feel let down by gimmicks instead of real change.
ActionSA will be holding it own public hearings with the affected residents of Hammanskraal and surrounding communities. These hearings will call on City of Tshwane and Provincial Government officials to appear to account. While they will undoubtedly refuse to appear, this itself will be revealing. This process will produce a report which will form the basis of our efforts to hold the city of Tshwane to account, and our plans to address this issue when we govern Tshwane later this year.
Tshwane is a demonstration that neither the ANC nor the DA have proven to serve the residents of Tshwane. This is why ActionSA is dedicated to contesting Tshwane and forming the core of an alternative government that will serve the residents of Tshwane and resolve the Hammanskraal water crisis with the urgency it deserves.