President Cyril Ramaphosa has expressed his sincere apology to the residents of Hammanskraal for government’s failure to provide clean drinking water to residents.
President Ramaphosa visited the community of Hammanskraal on Thursday, following the Cholera outbreak.
The President started the visit to Hammanskraal with a stopover at the Rooiwal Wastewater Treatment plant, which was followed by a community meeting at Temba Stadium in Hammanskraal, where he interacted with the community on the measures government is implementing.
Addressing the community, the President acknowledged that government has failed the residents, who have been without quality water for many years.
“We are sorry that we have not been able to provide you with the basic human right of clean water, and that it has taken the lives of people. We have not lived up to your expectation, and we are now going to do things right,” President Ramaphosa said.
The President reported that during the visit at Rooiwal, he discovered that the plant is too old since it was built in the 1950s and has not been maintained for quite some time, has rusty pipes and the machine is not in a good working condition.
President Ramaphosa also called for an end to the awarding tenders for the building of infrastructure, to unskilled people.
He noted that the tenders, which were issued by the City of Tshwane for repairing and extension of the water works, was left uncompleted, due to irregularities.
“They issued big tenders and the work was half done up to 68% and the tender had to be cancelled because there was irregularities in the award of a tender. Had the work been done properly at that water works, the provision of clean quality water would have been there," President Ramaphosa said.
Adopting a culture of maintenance
The President also emphasised the importance of infrastructure maintenance, noting that the culture of maintenance throughout the country is very low.
“We build installations, some of them the most beautiful, and when we finish building them, we forget about them and about maintaining them. The right approach and culture is, once you build a facility or an installation, you must from day one, start maintaining so that it functions well, and way into the future.
“When you don’t maintain the machines, which works day and night, it will definitely break down one of these days. We’ve seen it now in electricity and we are now also seeing it in another vital area, which is water, and this must come to an end…we must start maintaining our infrastructure, as South Africans,” the President said.
The President noted that the maintenance and expansion of Rooiwal Wastewater Works and Temba Water treatment will cost R4 billion, with the final completion of work expected to take three years.
President Ramaphosa said while the maintenance and expansion of Rooiwal Wastewater and Temba Water Plants is underway, the City of Tshwane will continue to provide tankered water.
He also announced that government has invited Magalies Water, who will come to Hammanskraal and assist with the building of small water works.
“They [Magalies] would be able to complete the work in the next six months. You will carry on using tankering water supplying clean water, but it won’t go on for a long period,” President Ramaphosa explained to residents.
He reiterated the warning against using unboiled water for consumption, as it is currently not in good quality.
Water wardens training
Meanwhile, the President challenged Gauteng Premier, Panyaza Lusufi to recruit young people and train them to become water wardens.
“This is what we have to do … to skill our people to make sure that we have more people to look after our facilities,” the President said. – SAnews.gov.za