The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has frowned upon what it termed the violation of the human rights of the people of Hammanskraal who have been unable to get clean drinking water for years.
The commission visited the Temba water purification plant and Rooiwal water treatment plant on Thursday. This almost three years since a study it conducted jointly with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) found that the water in the area is unsafe for human consumption and may cause chronic health conditions.
A separate, recent expert report also said the water may cause severe health risks to residents. The experts said hair loss, brownish teeth (dental florisis), developmental or reproductive issues, miscarriages and children born with fragile bones can be some of the worst effects of the contaminated water.
The human rights commission said it would be releasing its final findings into the Hammanskraal water and the state of rivers in the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality in the next few weeks.
SAHRC Gauteng provincial manager, Buang Jones, said the commission is not happy with the short term interventions Tshwane Metro has implemented.
“We are happy with the cooperation we have received from Department of Water and Sanitation and the City of Tshwane. However, we are not happy that the people of Hammanskraal don’t have access to water that is safe for human consumption,” said Jones.
City of Tshwane mayor, Randal Williams, said the first phase of refurbishment at the Rooiwal water treatment plant is “progressing well”.
He said the city needs at least R5-billion to complete the project that is expected to take at least the next three years.
While refurbishments continues dirty contaminated water continues to flow into the Apies river with a negative environmental impact.