Pretoria - The DA in Tshwane has accused the ANC of playing political games by distracting from solutions to the cholera outbreak in Hammanskraal.
Party caucus chair Jacqui Uys hit out at the ANC for pointing fingers at the DA-led administration for problems emanating from water supplied to Hammanskraal residents.
On Monday, the ANC said the municipality lacked the capacity of handling the water issues in the area.
Uys said: “It is concerning that, amidst a rapidly developing public health situation with all facts not yet known, the ANC is playing political games and engaging in shifting blame for the ongoing challenges at the Rooiwal wastewater treatment plant, rather than focusing on finding solutions.”
She said it was crucial that issues were addressed without the distraction of baseless accusations, especially amid efforts “to pinpoint the exact source of the current cholera outbreak”.
“It is hard to overlook that the current challenges at the Rooiwal wastewater treatment plant are linked to past management decisions and insufficient investment in essential water infrastructure. The closure of the Temba water purification plant in August 2011 – under the ANC’s watch – was a significant setback for many residents and served as a clear indication of the deteriorating water quality,” Uys said.
The DA found water quality in Hammanskraal to be alarmingly compromised when it took over in 2016, she said.
“Despite these inherited challenges, the multi-party coalition government has been proactive in addressing the water crisis. We have allocated resources to urgently deal with the infrastructure issues and aim to provide reliable water for Hammanskraal’s residents. Nevertheless, overcoming years of infrastructural neglect requires time, patience and sustained effort. Thus far, our requests for assistance from ANC national and provincial governments have been unsuccessful,” Uys said.
ActionSA, on the other hand, said it had lodged complaints against Tshwane and its former executive mayor, Randall Williams, with the public protector and SA Human Rights Commission for their failure to act on the Rooiwal wastewater treatment plant.
The party suggested that water from the plant might have led to the current cholera outbreak.
“Appreciating that this has been a persistent issue for almost two decades, we will not be surprised if these chapter nine investigations uncover that other city mayors and city officials have been complicit in the precipitous decline in water access and quality in Hammanskraal and its surrounds,” the party said.
The party said it believed the current cholera outbreak which killed 17 people was possibly directly linked to the fact that the Rooiwal plant was “dysfunctional which both Williams and the City of Tshwane have failed to address”.