The City of Tshwane has noted the concerns of the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) regarding the quality of water supplied to the Hammanskraal area.
The City has since informed OUTA that Hammanskraal residents had previously complained about water quality in the Hammanskraal area to a Chapter 9 Institution, the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), in July 2018. Since the complaint was lodged, there have been ongoing engagements between the City, the National Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) as well as the SAHRC to address the concerns about the quality of water supplied to the community of Hammanskraal.
When the complaints were raised, the City was already in the process of upgrading the Temba Water Treatment Plant (WTP), which supplies water to the Hammanskraal area. The upgrades include the installation of advanced treatment processes such as granular activated carbon (GAC) filters as well as an ozone-dosing system suited to treating water from the raw water source for the Temba WTP. The upgraded water treatment plant is currently undergoing the final commissioning stage, with the tie-in of the original and the new stage of the plant having been concluded on 9 July 2019. This ensures that all the water passes through the ozone treatment and GAC filters to improve the final water quality from the upgraded WTP.
The City also notes OUTA's conclusion, based on one water sample taken on 5 July 2019, that the water is not fit for use as potable water and domestic use. As per the SANS 241-1:2015 standard mentioned in OUTA's letter, the one sample that was used as a reference cannot be taken to represent the status of the water supplied to the Hammanskraal area. The standard further requires that in the case of non-compliance a confirmatory sample must be taken to confirm such non-compliance, which was not done in this instance as no re-sampling results were provided.
OUTA has been informed of their incorrect conclusion which is based on only one sample, especially when there was no resampling to confirm the non-compliance. It is worth mentioning that the source of the water sample as well as the sampling procedure is not known as it was not witnessed by the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality.
Since this matter is already being dealt with by the (SAHRC) and the national department concerned, OUTA has been requested to allow the Chapter 9 Institution process to be concluded. All affected stakeholders will be kept informed of any developments.
The City recognises the right of individuals and/or organised bodies to approach the courts of law. On the other hand, such steps should be undertaken when there are differences or a deadlock on issues raised in a round-table discussion. To this end, the doors of the City's Utility Services Department, which is responsible for the administration of water and electricity, remain open to OUTA to ventilate concerns on the quality of water supplied to the Hammanskraal area.