Rooiwaal wastewater treatment works plant. Deputy Minister David Mahlobo raised concerns at the lack of electricity backup capacity at the treatment works, which left large parts of Hammanskraal without a reliable water supply for weeks. Picture: Bongani Shilubane/African News Agency/ANA

PORT ELIZABETH - Deputy Minister David Mahlobo raised concerns at the lack of electricity backup capacity at the Rooiwaal wastewater treatment works, which left large parts of Hammanskraal without a reliable water supply for weeks.

Speaking during his visit to Rooiwaal with senior officials of the department and the city of Tshwane, Mahlobo said it was a serious concern that the treatment works did not have the electricity backup system that should kick in should it face challenges of an electricity shutdown.

The treatment works was struck by lightning on 18 October, leading to the treatment of wastewater being severely affected. 

This happened as the city of Tshwane and the department are working to revitalise the treatment works, and it affected the quantity and quality of the Temba water treatment works which supplies part of the water required for Hammanskraal.

Mahlobo said the water shortages had been enormous, affecting the community in general and especially the farming community. He said he had been informed that samples of the water supplied indicated that there were signs the groundwater was also contaminated.

He said a quick turnaround time for power to be restored was crucial.

“There are certain sectors that are affected such as health facilities and education. This is even worse because of the heat wave,” Mahlobo said. 

"We should therefore intensify our efforts to supply water to communities by means of water tankers and also ensure people know when and where this will happen.

He said that the Department and the city of Tshwane would ensure that a delivery service model is implemented to notify communities affected by water interruptions, particularly in terms of the times for delivery and delivery points. 

Mahlobo also met with senior staff at Jubilee Hospital, saying the water challenges were regrettable. 

He committed the department and the city of Tshwane to ensure that the hospital and surrounding areas were provided with good quality water while work to capacitate the Rooiwaal treatment works is fast-tracked.

African News Agency (ANA)