Hammanskraal residents will suffer while Apies River remains blocked and polluted

21 June 2019 - 08:27
By Nico Gous
Stock photo.
Image: Pixabay.com Stock photo.

Residents of Hammanskraal north of Pretoria will have to continue to drink water that is possibly unsafe while the Apies River remains polluted and obstructed.  

That is what the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) Gauteng manager, Buang Jones, told SowetanLIVE's sister publication TimesLIVE in a voice-note on Thursday.

“The current treatment plant will continue to fail for as long as we deal with the deteriorating and polluted Apies River which is obstructed from the Leeukraal Dam.”

The SAHRC inspected the water quality with the City of Tshwane and the water and sanitation department on Thursday.

“Some of the monitoring points had challenges with colour, turbidity, ammonia and some general microbiological determinants. We reiterated that we cannot at this point declare that the water supplied to the community of Hammanskraal is safe for human consumption,” Jones said.

The water and sanitation department took samples at different points and sent them for lab testing. This comes after the City of Tshwane said it would improve the drinking water from the Temba Water Treatment Plant at Leeukraal dam.

Jones said the department struggled before with sampling as some the monitoring points delivered substandard results. He added that the department had previously said there was a “high potential of waterborne disease outbreak”.

Jones said the City of Tshwane said on Thursday it was budgeting R350m in the next financial year to tackle the challenges upstream from Hammanskraal.

Tshwane mayor Stevens Mokgalapa in an interview with the Sowetan in April vowed to fix the water issues in Hammanskraal.

The City of Tshwane has reportedly spent R3bn on solving the problems while some residents resorted to buying or cooking water because they distrust the water municipal tankers deliver.

Local resident Tshepang Mabokela told Sowetan that residents had to get water from tankers that moved from street to street as water from taps was not drinkable.

“Water is a big problem for us, and most of us have gotten used to queueing up when the tankers come around,” Mabokela said. “Water from our taps is brownish in colour, and we no longer consume it.”