Pretoria - Residents in Hammanskraal are becoming increasingly frustrated with the water crisis.
They have now approached the Gauteng legislature, asking law-makers to intervene and provide them with clean, drinkable water.
The residents’ pleas come after a SA Human Rights Commission report, released in October, which found the City of Tshwane had not met its constitutional obligation to provide clean water to residents.
The City has consistently maintained that the problem of dirty water in the township started back in 2004, under the then ANC-led administration.
At the time, it was reported that the Rooiwal wastewater treatment plant was the source of contaminated water discharged into the Apies River, which supplies water to the Temba water treatment plant. The Temba plant is used for purifying water for Hammanskraal residents.
Frustrated by the water woes, some residents recently submitted petitions to the provincial legislature’s petitions committee, asking for intervention to resolve the problem.
One of them is Lesiba Phala, from Temba Unit D, who submitted the petition on behalf of residents, asking law-makers to ensure they have clean water.
Phala alleged that residents have been supplied dirty drinking water for the past six months. He further complained that the water was not safe to drink, “as it is always yellow in colour”.
According to him, numerous complaints to the municipality about the water quality have fallen on deaf ears.
The petitions committee said the matter was referred to the City on November 15, and it was yet to receive a progress report on how it was addressing the problem.
Another resident, Mathale Phetlhe, also presented a petition, in which she complained about the City's billing system.
Phetlhe said municipal bills sent to residents were inconsistent, “as meter readings are irregular and the municipality inflates water charges”.
According to her, ratepayers in the township are unsatisfied with the services from the municipality “as the expectations of the community is that revenue generated through rates and taxes collected from households would be utilised to provide them with the required services”.
“The roads are inaccessible when it rains. In addition, the street lights are not functioning, thus contributing to the upsurge of criminal activities in the community," she said,
Phetlhe further complained that residents in Temba were “unfairly discriminated against”, as neighbouring townships were provided with the required services and well-maintained roads although they “do not pay any taxes and rates”.
Regarding the water, she said: “(The) water supply is contaminated with nitrates and faeces, and that water quality is not in line with the approved standard and that poses a threat to the health of residents.”
The City’s former utility services MMC, Phillip Nel, has said the failure to maintain existing water infrastructure was due to a lack of funds, saying at least R6.4 billion was needed to fix the problem in the next five years.
On the eve of the November 1 municipal elections, Minister of Water and Sanitation Senzo Mcunu announced a R500 million project by the government to install a 5km water pipe in Hammanskraal from early next year to alleviate the long-standing plight of residents.
The pipe connection will be carried out by Rand Water, which has already started a project assessment.