Cape Town – Water and Sanitation Minister, Senzo Mchunu, has activated technical teams to work with the City of Tshwane and Health Department in response to a Cholera outbreak in Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria.
The outbreak has resulted in the deaths of at least 12 people and the hospitalisation of others.
The teams will assist in investigating water quality and identifying the causes of the outbreak.
The department has been continuously carrying out water quality tests at the Temba Water Treatment Works and water distribution points in Hammanskraal.
“The latest tests indicate the water quality from the Temba Water Treatment Works does not meet minimum standards. However, water supplied by Magalies and Rand Water meet the drinking water quality standards. Therefore, the water quality challenges are in central Hammanskraal, which is supplied by the city,” the department said.
The minister has also deployed his deputy ministers to visit the affected areas and discuss plans for rehabilitating and upgrading the Rooiwal Wastewater Treatment Works.
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The poor water quality in Hammanskraal is attributed to the failure of the Rooiwal Wastewater Treatment Works, which has led the department to take legal action against the City of Tshwane.
“The Wastewater Treatment Works is situated upstream of Hammanskraal and has affected the Leeukraal Dam, where the Temba Water Treatment Works abstracts water for treatment and distribution. This has over the years led to the department instituting a series of enforcement actions (directives) against the city, and for the city to address the pollution from the Rooiwal Wastewater Treatment Works into the Apies River and Leeukraal Dam,” Mchunu said.
The city has opposed the legal action, and the department has directed the city to stop supplying water from the Temba Water Treatment Plant to Hammanskraal residents.
Potable water is now being provided through the deployment of water tankers.
In 2021, the South African Human Rights Commission recommended that the national government take over the water and sanitation function of the city, but the city rejected the recommendation.
The department is pursuing legal action to force the city to use its allocated funding for the rehabilitation and upgrading of the Rooiwal Wastewater Treatment Works.
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Compiled by Betha Madhomu