It should not take Tshwane years to address Hammanskraal water problems - Herman Mashaba
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Pretoria - Water purification technology was not rocket science, and it should not take the City of Tshwane many years to address the problem of contaminated water in Hammanskraal, ActionSA Herman Mashaba said yesterday.
Mashaba, who was visiting the City’s Rooiwal Water Treatment Plant, also said the party would institute a commission of inquiry into the state of the water in the area.
Accompanied by party member and former MMC and acting mayor Abel Tau, he said their commission would take submissions from the frustrated residents of Hammanskraal and farmers.
The City and its contractors will also be asked to make submissions.
Mashaba said the investigation would cover everything, including how certain service providers were appointed. “We need to conduct our own public hearings and have people of Hammanskraal not only make submissions, but also participate in the commission because this problem has been going on since 2004.
“We want to know what is truly happening here. The contractors we are being told they were appointed in 2019. This was supposed to be a two-year project but up to now, as far as we are told, they have only executed roughly 30% of the project.
“Now we want to know how much they have been paid because according to our information, this was a R295-million project. We are not really getting all the answers at the moment and that is why we want this commission, where we can be able to give professional and well-informed evidence of what transpired, and we will fund all the costs.”
He said fortunately the Constitution allowed for residents to take municipalities to court to account, and they were prepared to take the City to court so that the people affected by the problem could take over and finally fix this problem.
As a “child” of Hammanskraal, Mashaba said it was insane that the people in townships were still drinking dirty water. He said several politicians visited the area, but there was still no significant progress.
Tau said they had engaged the families and the community, and found that the poor state of the water resulted in farmers not being able to grow their own products.
He said the properties and farms in the area were selling for next to nothing because the water in the area was contaminated.
“Basically this water treatment plant is not working as it is supposed to because it is over capacity, making it unable to treat the kind of effluent that comes in. This project was supposed to solve this problem, but it is 2021 but we are still here. We believe Covid-19 or no Covid-19 this work should have been done.”
He said the plant was designed to work at 110 mega-litres, but it received way more than this.
“The second problem is that the kind of effluent it receives is not what it was designed to clean. Therefore it is inefficient. It is the same as using your bath soap to clean what is supposed to be cleaned by your dishwater.”
The City of Tshwane, however, announced a R2.1bn project to expand the capacity of the Rooiwal Water Treatment Plant in May last year.
It said contractors hired would provide weekly updates of the work envisaged to be completed in July 2022.