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Transforming Society

Securing Rights

Restoring Dignity

Residents up in arms over the ‘never ending’ water crisis


20 October 2021

Lack of basic service delivery remains a thorn for many communities across the country and not being able to access clean, healthy water since 2005 has really disheartened the residents of Hammanskraal.

A 2019 report by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) deemed the water in the area not suitable for human consumption. And, the ‘never ending’ water crisis in Hammanskraal that spans 16 years has become a political battle, especially leading up to the 2021 local municipal elections on 01 November. Various political parties have campaigned in the area, making as well] never-ending promises to residents.

Some disgruntled residents say they are tired of the empty promises they always get from government officials. Thabiso Komane (58) who has lived in Hammanskraal for several years, told Sosh Times that the water is too dirty and sometimes they find moving particles in it. “The water looks dirty. The colour is brownish and sometimes there’s no water coming out of our taps,” said Komane.

He said when the water doesn’t look clear; they buy bottled water from the shops or get it from water tankers for drinking, but still use tap water for washing laundry and flushing the toilet. “It is clear that we are not taken seriously. How long are we going to suffer like this? The government and the City of Tshwane have failed us dismally. We are just waiting for elections to make changes,” said Komane.

A 22-year-old unemployed, Katlego Maluleke is one person who cannot afford to buy bottled water and has no choice but to drink it. She said they always have running stomachs because of the water they receive. “I stay with my granny and she takes blood pressure medication, and we cannot afford to buy bottled water, so she takes the medication with the water and always complains about stomach pains,” said Maluleke.

Tshwane Mayor Randall Williams said the challenges in Hammanskraal were first identified in 2004 when reports were presented to the then administration highlighting that waste-water infrastructure was deteriorating and could not sustain the population growth.

“These reports were ignored; the population more than doubled, and no interventions were put in place for over a decade. The infrastructure significantly degraded such that by 2015 the water in parts of Hammanskraal was undrinkable,” said Williams.

Williams said: “The City has allocated R300 Million to the upgrade and refurbishment of Rooiwal Wastewater Treatment Works and work has already begun. “Phase 1 of the work is currently underway and standing at 58% completion with finalisation expected in October 2022”. He further added that residents have every right to be angry and frustrated by this situation.

Source: Sosh Times

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The Human Rights Commission is the national institution established to support constitutional democracy. It is committed to promote respect for, observance of and protection of human rights for everyone without fear or favour.

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