SAHRC takes City of Tshwane to court over Hammanskraal water crisis

Resident, Mr Josiah Rosemate Nkuna, demonstrate how the water turns green after three months


The South African Human Rights Commission SAHRC yesterday said it is taking The City of Tshwane to the court regarding the Hammanskraal water crisis that is allegedly to be unfit for human consumption.

The SAHRC met with the community of Hammanskraal yesterday at Sebothoma Hall in Temba, to warn them about the risks and consequences of consuming the water that is alleged to have a high concentration of nitrate and phosphate. This is after the water samples were taken to the council for scientific and industrial research, and was discovered that the Hammanskraal water is not safe for human consumption.

Some of the residents who attended the SAHRC feedback session to the community came with medical reports which they claimed is prove that the water is the cause of their health hazards.

Mr Buang Jones of the SAHRC said the water sample analysis done by the CSIR confirms that Hammanskraal water is not safe for human consumption and that the water can be the cause of ill health of residents

“We are going to force the City Of Tshwane to do the right thing through the courts because it is our responsibility to fight for the rights of citizens,” said Mr Jones.

Mr Sibusiso Mthembu of the Department of Water and Sanitation said the Department is not happy with the progress made at the Temba Water Treatment Plant and Rooival.

“The high concentration of Nitrate and phosphate is not healthy for human consumption and can cause health risks. The Department took a decision that the people of Hammanskraal must not drink the water to avoid any negative health impact,” he said.

“We are taking the city of Tshwane to court because while the results say one thing, the City is saying something different, so we are going to force them to do the right thing,” he said.

Mr Tumelo Koiteng of the Hammanskraal Resident’s Forum, said “the memorandums the forum delivered to the Tshwane Municipality in January 2017 has thus far been ignored. The City only responded after we shutdown Temba and that is why we wrote to the SAHRC for intervention because we realized that the City was not serious about solving the water crisis.”

Mr Josiah Rosemate Nkuna, a resident that came with three months water samples, said doctors confirmed that the unhealthy water is responsible for his wife getting cancer.

He demonstrated with the three bottles of water that he has been collecting and keeping for three months that over that time the water color changed.

“According to the water samples that I have been collecting for three months, you can see how dirty this water is, this water changes to green after three months.

“I am a family man and it breaks my heart to think what will happen to our children if we all die because of this water,” said Mr Nkuna.

Meanwhile, on Monday 19 August 2019, the Member of Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Utility Services, Councillor Abel Tau, Deputy Minister of Water and Sanitation, David Mahlobo and MEC for Infrastructure Development and Property Management, Tasneem Motara, had a joint in loco inspection of the Temba Water Treatment Plant and the Rooiwal Sewer Treatment Plant.

In a statement, the City of Tshwane said the walkabout provided valuable insight about the challenges and solutions in the provision of potable water and effective treatment of effluent.

MMC Tau reiterated that “the City remains committed to providing quality services to all, including the communities of Hammanskraal.

“It is imperative that a common understanding and approach be forged in engaging with the affected communities,” Mr Tau said.