Pretoria - The Gauteng provincial Department of Water and Sanitation and the City of Tshwane remain on opposite sides regarding water quality in Hammanskraal, Pretoria, as results loom in two weeks time.
Departmental spokesperson Sputnik Ratau said they wanted to assure the residents of Hammanskraal that they would not stop until they put to bed the long-standing issue of the water quality in the area.
Ratau said they wanted to assure the community that tests on water samples collected in a number of places around the area on June 20 were continuing intensely.
Samples were collected at Temba Water Treatment Works, Kekana Primary School, Refentse Clinic, and Hammanskraal Secondary School, by the city, the South African Human Rights Commission and community representatives.
The samples are currently at a CSIR laboratory for microbiological, chemical, and physical analysis.
Ratau said that only once the results had been concluded and released, which would take three weeks starting from when they were collected, would they be able to put to bed their concerns on whether the water was fit for consumption as per South African national standards.
The joint initiative by the City and the department, followed a visit by the Tshwane MMC for Utility Services, Abel Tau, after a complaint lodged last year with the SA Human Rights Commission by Hammanskraal residents regarding concerns about the water quality in that area.
“We can’t take any chances or word from just anyone regarding this issue. For now we will only be convinced of the water quality when the scientific outcome is clear.
“The fact of the matter is that we are not happy with the water quality. Once the results come back, only then can we as the department act as the prescripts of the law allow us to.”
When asked if the department was concerned about residents’ safety while the results were pending, Ratau said that naturally they were concerned, however they had to await the outcome before they could act.
“The municipality is the supplier of water for its residents and they must satisfy the prescripts of the law and needs of the community. So if they are continuing to supply that water, then they are putting their head on the block.”
Tau earlier this week continued to reassure the residents of Hammanskraal that their water was safe to drink. This despite the department’s concerns and further online reports claiming that residents would have to drink “possibly unsafe” water.
The publications said monitoring points had challenges with colour, turbidity, ammonia and some general microbiological determinants.
However, Tau reportedly stood by the City’s stance, saying that officials present at the weekend sampling had mutually agreed that the water colour was acceptable.
And furthermore that he and metro officials had tasted and smelled the water in the area themselves.
“We would like to assure our residents in Hammanskraal and nearby areas that the City, in co- operation with the department and Human Rights Commission, will make every effort to ensure that the quality of the water stays 100% compliant,” Tau said.