The Rooiwal Wastewater Treatment Works. Picture: Masi Losi/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - The department of water and sanitation on Tuesday called on the City of Tshwane to take its share of responsibility for the unsafe water supply in Hammanskraal and work with it to find solutions.

This comes after Water and Sanitation Deputy Minister David Mahlobo visited the Rooiwal and Temba water treatment plants along with Tshwane and provincial officials on Monday.

"With regards to the Rooiwal Wastewater Treatment Works, Deputy Minister Mahlobo noted that the treatment works is over-capacitated and evidently poorly operated and maintained. As a result poor quality effluent is discharged into the Apies River which feeds into the Leeukraal Dam. The Leeukraal dam is a source of water for Hammanskraal," the department said.

"The water that is abstracted from the Leekraal Dam and treated at Temba Water Treatment Works was on a number of occasions found to be non-compliant with the South African drinking water standards. This was also confirmed by the results of the joint sampling that was tested by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), under the direction of the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC)."

Water boiled by a resident of Hammanskraal before she could use it. Picture: Supplied


Separate water sample tests by the CSIR and the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) found that drinking water in Hammanskraal was unsafe and contained bacteria. Outa threatened legal action, demanding that the city act after the findings. 

Angry residents in Hammanskraal and surrounding areas embarked on a series of violent protests last year against the poor quality of their water supply. Tankers have since been used to distribute drinking water to residents. 

The SAHRC intervened in the "dirty water" saga after residents laid complaints with the commission over unsafe drinking water. 

The commission found that by not supplying clean drinking water, the city violated residents' human rights. Public hearings with the affected communities have been planned by department and the SAHRC. Dates for the hearings are due to be announced.

African News Agency/ANA