Light at the end of tunnel for Hammanskraal water issues
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Pretoria - With the quality of Hammanskraal water still in question, the City of Tshwane has been urged to increase water tankers in the area to meet consumption demands during the festive season.
This is according to South Africa Human Rights Commission provincial manager Buang Jones, who spoke to the Pretoria News following his recent visit to waste water treatment plants at Rooiwal and Temba to assess progress made to resolve the drinking water quality issues.
Jones was told by Tshwane officials that a project to refurbish the Rooiwal waste water treatment plant started in February and it was anticipated it would be completed within 24 months.
He was particularly happy with the fact that the Rooiwal refurbishment had taken off since the last time he inspected the plant.
The plant was identified as the source of contaminated water discharged into the Apies River, which in turn supplied water to the Temba water treatment plant.
The Temba plant is used for purifying water for Hammanskraal residents.
Experts have previously attested to the fact that Rooiwal’s inability to purify waste water resulted in the sludge being discharged into the Apies River.
For years, Hammanskraal residents had complained that they had to drink dirty water.
Jones said that for as long as residents continued to raise concerns about the quality of water, the commission would be on the cases of authorities responsible for water provision in the area.
"We have asked Rand Water and the City of Tshwane to come up with an interim water plan to make sure that people have access to clean water," Jones said.
In addition, he said the commission would write to the City, asking it to increase the number of water tankers “as we are entering the festive season, because many people will be coming home”.
There had been claims that service providers colluded with politically connected individuals to demand for an increase of water tankers so that they could hike their profits.
“We have asked the City to conduct a probe and verify claims made about collusion and that if there is evidence, they should approach the SAPS,” Jones said.
Last month, the MMC for Utility Services and regional operation co-
ordination, Phillip Nel, announced plans to speed up construction at the plant by demanding weekly updates from contractors.
In August, the Department of Water and Sanitation reported that it was satisfied that the quality of the effluent being discharged into the Apies River had eventually improved.
According to the City, refurbishment work, valued at R253 million, has seen at least 17% of the civil work and 8% of the mechanical work being completed.