Pretoria - The three-day public hearings into the problem of undrinkable water in Hammanskraal is expected to get under way today.
This is despite the refusal by Tshwane Mayor Randall Williams to participate in the process.
Initiated by Herman Mashaba’s ActionSA, the inquiry is expected to probe challenges of water in the area dating back to 2005.
Williams has scoffed at the invitation to appear at the hearing, labelling it a political stunt.
He also questioned the involvement of the City’s former MMC for utility services, Abel Tau in the establishment of the inquiry, suggesting that he failed to address the water woes during his tenure.
Despite Williams’s refusal to honour the invitation, ActionSA included his name on the list of people expected to be grilled at the inquiry. However, it was stated that his presence was still to be confirmed.
Mashaba took to social media, saying the party had planned to present Williams with water from Hammanskraal during his State of the Capital Address, held yesterday at Tshwane House.
In a media statement, ActionSA said the water problem continued to affect local residents, including nearby informal traders, tourist destinations, and farmers.
“The contaminated piped and borehole water has been found unfit for human consumption,” the party said.
It further said despite the issue going viral in 2017, the situation had not improved, with at least three executive mayors and a provincial administrator having promised to address it.
Tau was previously an acting executive mayor in the city.
“The only change appears to be a R295 million tender issued to a joint venture involving a company owned by State capture-implicated Edwin Sodi,” the party said.
According to ActionSA, the justification behind the inquiry was based on the fact that the people in the township had not “been afforded public hearings and no report has ever emerged about the problem that they continue to live with.
“This is why these hearings had to be convened”.
Led by Professor Jonas Letsoalo, the inquiry assembled a panel of highly qualified experts, and will conduct itself in a “no fear and no favour” way, said the party.
Letsoalo is an advocate of the Supreme Court since 1981, and is a human rights law expert.
There are also water experts, community and faith-based leadership, and a traditional leader on the panel.
The hearing will take place at Ebenezer Bible Church, located opposite Temba municipal offices at 1905 Molefe Makinta Road.
SA Human Rights Commission provincial manager Buang Jones has also declined to take part in the inquiry, saying they had conducted their own investigation, and will soon release a comprehensive report on the state of water-related infrastructure and rivers in Tshwane as a whole.