Pretoria - The issue of water quality in Hammanskraal in Gauteng dates back almost two decades.
In 2015, while Solly Msimanga was campaigning for the DA ahead of the local government election, he led a group picketing outside the municipal offices and handed over a memorandum demanding the water problems in the area be attended to.
The water was brown, foam came out when boiled, according to him during that protest.
Msimanga said the municipality had told residents the water was clean and challenged the then ANC-led administration’s officials to drink it.
In 2018, while mayor of Tshwane, Msimanga promised the problem would receive attention.
From former Gauteng premier David Makhura and ActionSA officials to Cabinet members, City of Tshwane MMCs, to institutions such as the South Africa Human Rights Commission, they have all been to Hammanskraal and made promises.
The township became a political playground, while the people continued to suffer.
Since the first deaths were reported following the cholera outbreak a few days ago, these individuals have all roared to life about a matter they had known for 16 years and how it should have been dealt with.
Someone has to be held accountable – in fact, the government at all levels, starting with the City of Tshwane, which must account for the quality of water supplied to the area and remaining defiant to a problem that was so obvious to many.
The Gauteng province and national government also had a duty to hold Tshwane to its service delivery mandate, but they did not, and instead used the matter to deal with their political differences with the Tshwane government.
Condolences to families that have lost their loved ones, and speedy recovery to those who are sick.