Committee requests report on Hammanskraal water quality

Monday, February 10, 2020

Tshwane Municipality and the Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Department have been instructed to provide quarterly reports on the intervention to resolve Hammanskraal water quality challenges.

The directive came from the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation during the visit in Hammanskraal last Friday, where the committee members raised concerns on the lack of progress in dealing with water quality challenges in the area.

The committee visited the area as a follow-up to their visit in August 2019.

The committee was informed that the City of Tshwane has only now signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Ekurhuleni Water Care Company (ERWAT) to assist with the operation of the Rooiwal Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Committee chairperson Machwene Semenya said it is unacceptable that five months after the committee’s visit, the signing of the MoU only took place last Thursday.

She said while the committee is cognisant of the laborious bureaucratic process within local government, it remains unacceptable that the intervention process is moving at snail’s pace.

“This slow process is undermining the objective of finding a lasting solution to the current challenges and to supply the people of Hammanskraal with quality drinking water. The intervention must be rapid and deliver adequate results, but this has not been the case,” Semenya said.

The committee also raised concern that a contract to start phase 1 of the expansion of the Rooiwal Wastewater Treatment Plant has been cancelled, despite being signed off in October 2019.

Call for consequence management

The committee has called for consequence management for those who were part of the bid evaluation committee for the appointment of the contractor, who is now deemed incapable of delivering the work.

While the committee welcomed the fact that the City of Tshwane acted swiftly to cancel a contract with a contractor that is unable to deliver on work to limit substandard work, Semenya said it is concerning that the bid evaluation committee was unable to detect deficiencies at evaluation stage.

She emphasised that a thorough investigation must be done with adequate consequence management at the completion of the investigation.

The committee has also called for the ramping up of the implementation of plans to ensure that the challenges are resolved.

This includes finalising a service level agreement with ERWAT and Magalies Water, using the reprioritised Urban Settlement Development Grant to deliver infrastructure development programmes, and strengthening monitoring and evaluation to ensure value for money for any investment made.

Use of water tankers prone to corruption 

Meanwhile, the committee has reiterated its call to limit the use of water tankers, as the practice is susceptible to corruption. 

“There is an urgent need to implement infrastructure programmes to limit overreliance on tankers that are not sustainable and are expensive,” Semenya said.

The committee has called for the employment of skilled professionals to operate the City of Tshwane’s wastewater treatment plant so that when the intervention ends, there will be adequate skills transfer from ERWAT to permanently employed city officials. –