The Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation has warned that apportioning blame will delay progress in addressing the water problem in Hammanskraal, which might lead to further loss of life.

“What is necessary at this point is to conduct a thorough investigation to establish the root cause of the contamination of water and to ensure that a process of decontamination unfolds.

“What is also critical at this point is to ensure the people of Hammanskraal get clean, quality water,” committee chairperson, Robert Mashego, said.

Mashego said the committee will on Thursday visit Hammanskraal to find out the reasons for the non-implementation of adopted recommendations to address the challenges of water quality within the City of Tshwane.

Mashego said the committee will engage role players in order to ascertain why the recommendations that were agreed upon during a meeting, held with the committee on 7 February 2020, were not implemented.

According to Mashego, the committee held several meetings with the City of Tshwane, the Department of Water and Sanitation and water boards to find solutions to the challenge of poor water quality in the city.

“We are well aware of the political and administrative instability that has besieged the city but we remain of the view that the correct undertakings that were made by all role players should have been carried through.

“It is unacceptable that despite the committee warning about the dangers of unsatisfactory water quality in 2019, the municipality has not implemented the recommendations as agreed,” Mashego said.

However, Mashego said the committee acknowledged that the Mayor of Tshwane, Cilliers Brink, has shown willingness to work with the Department of Water and Sanitation to resolve this problem.

“The committee has long called for collaboration rather than antagonism between role players to ensure that the people of Hammanskraal receive what they deserve constitutionally — quality drinking water.”

To date, 29 cases of cholera have been confirmed in Hammanskraal, and over 100 people have been seen at the Jubilee District Hospital. The Gauteng Department of Health says the number of people, who have lost their lives following the cholera outbreak in Hammanskraal now stands at 17.

Forty-six people have been admitted and 18 of them were transferred Dr George Mukhari Academic and Steve Biko Academic Hospitals.

The Gauteng Health Department says the outbreak response team continues with surveillance work and public education in communities and on various platforms.

Government is working with multiple stakeholders, including community leaders and structures.

“The public education on ways to prevent and protect from cholera is ongoing through door-to-door campaigns, loud hailing, local media platforms and visits to schools and churches in Hammanskraal and across the Gauteng province,” the department said.

The department has also advised the public to report to their nearest health facilities when they present with diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and dehydration symptoms to receive treatment. –

Source: South African Government News Agency

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