Hammanskraal taps will have clean water by 2026 if R4 billion project goes as planned

Workers in hard hats line walkways at Rooiwal Wastewater Treatment Works.

A massive R4 billion is needed to complete the repairs and upgrades of the Rooiwal Wastewater Treatment Works in Hammanskraal. Picture: Bongani Shilubane – African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jun 1, 2023


A massive R4 billion is needed to complete the repairs and upgrades of the Rooiwal Wastewater Treatment Works so that residents in the current cholera epicentre, Hammanskraal in the City of Tshwane, would be able to get clean, potable water.

However, Minister of Water and Sanitation Senzo Mchunu said this project needs at least three years to complete – if all goes as planned.

The Rooiwal plant releases water to the Leeuwkraal Dam, which is the source for the Temba water treatment plant that supplies water to Hammanskraal. However, several reports have showed that the Rooiwal plant is over-capacitated and releases waste into the dam.

Director-general of Water and Sanitation, Sean Phillips, told a media briefing on Thursday that the water is so polluted that it is unable to be treated and brought to the standard of clean drinking water.

He said that after consultation, they decided that the project needed to be done in three stages, starting this year, and expected completion in 2026.

The City of Tshwane’s budget was passed yesterday, and coalition mayor Cilliers Brink said it was able to pump R450 million into the project.

This money will be used toward the first phase, planned to start in September this year, and end in November 2024.

The balance of the project would, however, need to be funded by other sources, he said.

“The first phase is the most concrete deliverable. We have the money in the bank but phases two and three will need funding.

“In essence, the problem is that Rooiwal has reached capacity and we don’t have the money and expertise to fix it. Every year the population grows and infrastructure deteriorates. There has also been mismanagement and various instances of tender irregularities, which makes what now needs to be done more expensive,” Cilliers said.

While the City of Tshwane has committed to the R450m over the next three years, the extra funding is needed from the Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA) which will also be the implementing agents of the project.

Cilliers said the city, together with the Department of Water and Sanitation, will work with the DBSA to develop a finance plan, and will also look into sourcing funds from other grants and funders.

He added that he did not think the outcome of next year’s elections would affect this project.

“Once this project is locked in and we have the agreements, it will be more difficult for successive administrators to pick it apart. This is not an idealogical project or plan,” he assured.

The project is expected to unfold as follows:

  • Phase 1 to start in September 2023 and end in November 2024. This will entail completing the repair project currently at a standstill at 63% completion.
  • Phase 2 to start in October 2024 and end in June 2025 which will include desludging the dam.
  • Phase 3 to start in July 2024 and end in June 2026.

The completion of the project is expected to increase the capacity of clean water production to 380 megalitres a day.

In total, the construction period for the entire project is three years from September 2023 to June 2026.

In the meantime, however, Cilliers said the city would have to take temporary measures.

Thousands of households have been dependant on water tankers and while the officials are careful with their promises to the people, Cilliers said their commitment was clear.

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