Tshwane dismisses claims of Rooiwal plant being source of cholera outbreak

The Rooiwal Wastewater Treatment Plant. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)

The Rooiwal Wastewater Treatment Plant. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Oct 30, 2023


Pretoria - The City of Tshwane’s Health Department has dispelled assertions that the Rooiwal Wastewater Treatment Plant was the source of the cholera outbreak that claimed the lives of nearly 30 people in Hammanskraal earlier this year.

Last week, the Transformation Alliance blamed the metro for the deaths that took place in May this year.

The Pretoria News reported that the municipality reported that hundreds of water samples were retrieved from various water sources across the municipality, however, there were no answers as to what the source was.

The party’s national chairperson Tlhogi Moseki said that ActionSA had recently accused the city of being responsible for the cholera outbreak in the township.

He said mayoral committee member for economic development and spatial planning Hannes Coetzee revealed, during his visit to Rooiwal, that it was the City of Tshwane’s fault that the deaths took place.

Moseki said that in a video posted recently on Facebook by the then MMC for human settlements, Kgosietsile Kgosiemang, who had joined Coetzee on an apparent oversight visit to Rooiwal on October 19 this year, it was asserted that the cholera in Hammanskraal was caused by the City’s negligence and incompetence.

Social media has also been ablaze with the the public asserting that Rooiwal was the source of the outbreak

However, the Health MMC Rina Marx dispelled the rumours saying that the national Department of Water and Sanitation commissioned the Water Research Commission to conduct an independent investigation into the cholera outbreak, which did not find that the source was in Rooiwal.

There was still no certain conclusion on the source of the cholera outbreak that rocked Hammanskraal in May.

This is according to the Water Research Commission, which gave details of their independent analysis of the cholera outbreak in Hammanskraal during a National Press Club media briefing in Pretoria yesterday.

Marx said: “The investigations included, among others, microbiologists, epidemiologists and engineers to assess the functionality and compliance of waste management systems.

“In addition, laboratories accredited by the South African National Accreditation System were brought on board to test samples for toxigenic vibrio cholera and other bacteria.

“The findings of the independent investigation in July 2023 concluded that it remains unknown whether water was a source of the cholera outbreak.”

There were also minimal infections in other areas of the country, with Hammanskraal having the bulk of the infections and deaths, prompting the Department of Water and Sanitation to commission the Water Research Commission to investigate the matter.

The Rooiwal plant has been hogging the news in recent weeks with Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu welcoming the Special Investigating Unit investigation into allegations of maladministration and corruption relating to the R295 million tender to refurbish and upgrade the facility.

Mchunu said the mismanagement of plant funds would remain “etched in the mind of many South Africans as lives were lost due to alleged improper conduct”.

“We welcome the investigation into the allegations of unlawful and improper conduct related to the tender awarded by the City of Tshwane.”

Pretoria News