Pretoria – The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) on Monday said residents of Hammanskraal have been subjected to unclean water for many years.
Commenting in the wake of the cholera outbreak in Hammanskraal and the surrounding area that has claimed 15 lives, the EFF said residents were being denied their basic human rights to access clean water and sanitation.
“The water coming out of the taps can range from yellow to brown, and at times faeces-like material can be spotted in the water,” the EFF said.
“This can be attributed to the dysfunctional Rooivaal Wastewater Treatment Plant and faulty Temba Water Purification Plant.
“This has resulted in residents being unable to use tap water.
“The water and sewer infrastructure has been compromised, thus resulting in sewage leakage which causes water contamination.”
In 2019, the South African Human Rights Council declared the water in Hammanskraal unsafe for human consumption following a scientific analysis of the water quality by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.
“Residents of Hammanskraal have been subjected to unclean water for many years,” the EFF said, adding that the disease outbreak was exacerbated by the inconsistency of the water tanker deliveries.
“Even so, people living with disabilities and the elderly have found it difficult to access these water tankers,” the EFF said.
“The issue of Hammanskraal water has been escalated to the provincial government which has dismally failed to make any intervention.
“Instead of attending to the issue, local and provincial government politicians have been caught up in tender battles.
“The main reason the people of Hammanskraal have been living without drinkable water is corruption through tender processes.”
The EFF said both the African National Congress (ANC) government in the province and the Democratic Alliance (DA) in Tshwane have failed the people of Hammanskraal resulting in the “painful yet avoidable death of innocent people”.
The EFF said both the ANC government in the province and the DA government in Tshwane must take full responsibility for the cholera outbreak and the lives it has claimed.
These authorities must account for subjecting the people of Hammanskraal to unclean and contaminated water for years.
The DA-led coalition in Tshwane has failed to provide the basic and yet most significant human right to access to clean water and this has had tragic consequences.
The EFF in Gauteng calls for an urgent and immediate response from the government.
“We call for an aggressive outbreak response team which will include community-based health organisations and activities, churches, local clinics, and schools, to be activated in order to conduct civic education on preventative measures against cholera and other infectious diseases,” the EFF said.
“We call on the government to act decisively for the overhaul and maintenance of the Wastewater Treatment Plants and Water Purification Plants that are responsible for the provision of clean and consumable water to the people of Hammanskraal.
“We also call for the intervention of the national government, especially the departments of water and sanitation, health and human settlement to provide resources to ensure the supply of resources, provide proper necessary medical care, and to ensure reliable water supply.”
The EFF said it will be monitoring the response of the government in ensuring those that are responsible should be held accountable and legally pursued for the violation of human rights.