Pretoria - Two protesters were arrested for public violence on Wednesday during violent protests in Hammanskraal and Temba townships, where residents complained about the poor quality of water provided by the City of Tshwane.
Protesters claimed that the water smelled of human faeces and was undrinkable.
There was tension on Wednesday afternoon as SAPS officers fired rubber bullets to disperse some groups of people, who had barricaded roads with burning tyres.
Local police spokesperson Lesebana said there were both SAPS officers and Tshwane metro police making every effort to normalise the situation.
She said a violent protest erupted after the city had promised to respond to service delivery grievances forwarded to the office of the mayor recently.
Some officers were seen clearing the roads to allow traffic flow.
A protester, Wilheminah Maeta, said residents demanded that the City of Tshwane get rid of the smell in the water and for the unacceptably high municipal services bills to be reduced.
She said she owed the city an amount of R7 000 for municipal services even though she was a pensioner.
“When I go to the City of Tshwane I am told to change the ownership of the place, where I stay, to my name before they could assist me.
The place was owned by my late mother. I told them that I am a pensioner but that didn't assist,” Maeta said.
Other residents also raised alarms that the water was contaminated with cholera, despite the water test conducted by the city that proved it didn't contain the bacteria.
A resident Tebogo Maisela said the problem with the water in the area was long-standing.
“Before they could claim that a power cable was stolen in Rooiwal, the probl
Sometimes you open a tap and a piece of a toilet paper would come out. When you are boiling the water it forms foam inside the kettle as if one has put powder soap inside,” he said.
Utility Services MMC Darryl Moss said there was nothing wrong with the water in the area despite complaints of the way it smelled.
Moss said the City had previously conducted many tests on the water for cholera and e-coli, but it found nothing wrong with it.
Moss agreed that there was a smell in the water, but he said residents can continue to consume it because, according to scientific tests the quality of water in the area was in line with a national standard set by the Department of Water and Sanitation.
He said the smell in the water came from some organic components, which would be a thing of the past once the City finally commission the operation of the Temba Water Treatment Plant in August.