Now that the DA’s Randall Williams is at the helm of Tshwane Metro as the Executive Mayor after he retained the mayoral chain, what inspiring new service delivery progammes will he bring about and improve the poor water quality provided to the residents of Hammskraal?
Over 16 years the residents of this area have been subjected to inhuman drinking water under both the DA and the African National Congress. A spat and a blame game between the two parties became a consistent game with none of these parties going nearer to finding a solution for the crisis.
Public interest in the matter came to head in 2017 after the 2016 election campaign produced many promises to the residents of Tshwane and Rooiwal but resulted in no action and over the years, it has gotten worse with no signs of improving. In April 2021, Herman Mashaba’s ActionSA instituted public hearings into the Hammanskraal water crisis. An independent panel of water experts was selected including the Human Rights Lawyers, religious and community leaders.
are pleased to announce that the hearings will take place during the weekend of 16 – 18 April 2021 and that an independent panel has been finalized, which include a water expert, a human rights lawyer, religious and community leaders”.
The panel was chaired by Professor Jonas Leaka Letsoalo. Other members included Mr. Dumizulu Nkwanyane, a 30-year-old community activist who continues to actively advocate for social justice, Mr. Pete Graham: water expert and owner of Singakwazi Aid, a Public Benefit Organisation, Mr. Victor Wegerle: from Singakwazi Aid: Head of Operations, Kgoshi Kgomotso Cornelius Kekana: of Amandebele ba Lebelo Tribal Authority, Reverend Thembelani Jentile (Dr.): A pastor at Mamelodi Baptist Church and Dr. Jentile is also a research fellow at the University of Free State in the department of religious studies. Other panelists included representatives from the CSIR, Magalies water, and Hammanskraal resident’s forum. The Invitation was also extended to the City of Tshwane municipality and the SAHRC.
Williams dug his face in the sand and declined to participate in the water crisis discussions. ActionSA slammed Williams’ stance and said; “Williams’ refusal to appear before the inquiry is disappointing in the extreme to both the panel, and most particularly, the residents of Hammanskraal and Rooiwal farming communities”.
ActionSA noted that the residents of Hammanskraal and surrounding communities have suffered from a water crisis dating back to 2005. In the last 5 years, these residents have had 3 Executive Mayors and a Provincial Administrator.
In his admission, 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 would not be able to 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 finalization expected in October 2022”. He further added that residents have every right to be angry and frustrated by this situation.
Now the question is; given to politicians’ habitual untruthfulness, will Williams keep his promise to the timeframe he made to the residents of Hammanskraal? His party, under the mayorship of two Executive Mayors, Solly Msimanga and Steven Mogalapa, failed to resolve the water crisis. It is difficult, however, to believe Williams, even if his supporters would hold a different view, the chain around his neck now, is the same one he has been wearing all the time whistle residents have been subjected to drinking appalling water quality.