Hammanskraal water: Residents facing a humanitarian crisis

By:

Janho Engelbrecht MPL, DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Environmental Affairs

Hannes Coetzee, DA Tshwane Ward 96 Councillor:

The Rooiwal water treatment plant, north of Tshwane, is again experiencing capacity problems, resulting in raw sewage sludge making its way into the Apies River endangering the lives of thousands of residents in Hammanskraal and surrounding areas.

The plant receives volumes far greater than it can handle, a temporary remedy to capacity problems has seen workers at the plant by-passing the system, pumping sewage sludge on to an open plane as the plant can no longer handle this load. If it were to function as it should, the plant would shut down completely.

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A tender for upgrading the plant is already 17 months late.

This sewage sludge build up has now overflown and is flowing into the Apies River which feeds the Themba Dam that provides Hammanskraal with drinking water. Apart from this, the water is also used for irrigation farmers bordering the river.

Vegetables irrigated with this water pose a future health hazard when consumed.

According to DA Tshwane Ward 96 Councillor Hannes Coetzee, this morning an E. coli count of water in the river was conducted with levels found to be dangerously high.

The community of Hammanskraal, surrounding plots and settlements have been placed in a situation akin to a humanitarian crisis by the City of Tshwane.

Water tankers must be brought in to these areas as a matter of urgency to prevent E.coli infection. The area where the sludge is pumped to should have a lining installed to prevent contamination of ground water and furthermore, a retaining wall must be erected around the open plane immediately to prevent further raw sewage from contaminating the Apies River.

The DA will be opening a case against Tshwane City Manager, Jason Ngobeni, for violating section 151 (i)(j) of the National Water Act, we will also be pursuing this matter with the Blue Scorpions.

The Rooiwal water treatment plant must be upgraded and maintained so as to ensure resident’s lives are not placed in danger in the future.

The DA will continue to monitor the situation and ensure it is handled in a timeous and effective manner.