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DWS, Tshwane cooperate to solve Hammanskraal water supply challenges

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The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) and the City of Tshwane have agreed to work together in a bid to solve the long-standing water supply challenges in Hammanskraal.

Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu and Tshwane Municipality Mayor Cilliers Brink held a meeting on Friday to discuss interventions with regards to the water supply challenges in Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria, and to chart an action plan.

This follows an outbreak of cholera, which has claimed the lives of 21 people in Hammanskraal and admission of 179 patients at Jubilee Hospital.

Briefing the media on the outcome of the meeting, Mchunu said the two had had a frank discussion on facts and issued that needed to be ironed out.

“We met in Cape Town with the Mayor last Wednesday and we agreed that we really need to meet and change the situation around, and open a new chapter. We now agreed to change and put that in the past by working together,” Mchunu said.

Water and Sanitation Minister, Senzo Mchunu, has warned municipalities who do not collect water revenue effectively, and citizens and businesses who do not pay for water services, that they are likely to end up with no water at all.

Water and Sanitation Minister, Senzo Mchunu, has warned municipalities who do not collect water revenue effectively, and citizens and businesses who do not pay for water services, that they are likely to end up with no water at all.

The meeting agreed that both parties are going to request a meeting with Treasury and the Department of Human Settlements to discuss some specific matters with them.

“In principle, a document was presented and it was agreed on. All we have to do is to get those departments that have been identified to then comment on the agreement. But a milestone has been reached by the agreement between Tshwane and ourselves [DWS], and that opens up other possibilities which we will present once everything has been finalised,” Mchunu said.

He said the parties will next week convene another briefing to outline who is going to do what and where they will source funding. Possible funding solutions and figures were presented during the meeting.

“Next week we will say where that money would come from, and the time frame. We will give a time frame, but if something happen along the way, we will come and say that this has happened and delayed our timeline.

“Once we have all the details of how we are going to do in terms of fixing the [Rooiwal Wastewater Treatment Works] and the whole system. What is important, is that we have agreed on working together, and there hasn’t been any agreement in the past between DWS and Tshwane. We welcome this new attitude of the Tshwane Mayor that we resolve these maters by agreeing to work together, it resolve almost 50% of all our problems,” Mchunu said.

Brink said the parties have reached the end of long line of failures and excuses, and “whatever has failed in the past has now been abandoned and must be replaced by this partnership”.

He said the city will have to source additional finding and there will be additional agreements.

While acknowledging that the issues will not be solved overnight, Brink said this is the first step in what he believes to be a “clean break with the past, the failures, the disputes, the squabbles, and the excuses”.

The Hammanskraal community under the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality has been experiencing unreliable and poor-quality potable water supply for an extended period, despite the upgrade of the Temba Water Treatment Plant, to a capacity of 120 megalitres a day (ML/d).

The poor water quality is caused by the failure of the Rooiwal Wastewater Treatment Works to meet the desirable final effluent quality for discharge to the Apies River, which in turn, flows into the Leeukraal Dam.

A joint task team between the department and the City has been re-affirmed to oversee the works with continuous reporting to the Minister. – SAnews

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