Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation says the cancellation of a chlorine contract to clean the water at the Rooiwal waste water treatment plant without a contingency plan was reckless and negligent and placed the health of the people of Tshwane, especially Hammanskraal at high risk.
In a statement late on Thursday, the committee welcomed assurances by the Tshwane municipality that it had instituted “consequence management processes” for the officials involved.
“Despite its vexation with the matter, the committee welcomes the assurance that the chlorine is now in place to treat the water before it makes its way into the Apies River,” it said.
The committee said there had been clear dereliction of duty by the municipality in its interaction with residents after it allegedly told community leaders to bring scientific evidence to support their claim that the quality of water was not desirable.
“For a municipality to tell its residents, who are mostly poor and unemployed, that they must bring scientific proof is both unfortunate and insensitive. The committee hopes that the city will use this crisis as a learning curve, and will in future interact better with residents,” the committee’s chairperson Machwene Semenya said, adding that the maintenance of the entire water system remained a concern in Tshwane and across the country.
“It is unsustainable that municipalities on average, spend less than 10% of (their) budgets on water and sanitation especially because of the economic value of water and the health risk associated with water illnesses, especially because residents pay for water and sanitation as part of the rates and taxes. That money must be invested into infrastructure programmes on water and sanitation,” she said.
In Tshwane, the committee was concerned that out of 15 wastewater treatment works, only two were operating within design capacity and four were at a critical state.
“It is unacceptable that South Africa’s capital city spends just over R400-million on water and sanitation capex (capital expenditure) in a financial year,” said Semenya.
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Parliament slams cancellation of Rooiwal water treatment contract
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