The national department of water and sanitation (DWS) is not convinced the water in Hammanskraal is safe for consumption, despite Tshwane Mayor Stevens Mokgalapa declaring it compliant.
The quality of drinkable water in the township north of Pretoria has been a burning topic, with residents, opposition parties, the DWS and the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) stating it is contaminated, has led to sickness and is not safe to drink.
The Rooiwal Waste Water Treatment Plant spilled contaminated water into the Apies River upstream of the Temba Purification Plant. This was to have been resolved when the city constructed a new plant, which was completed at the end of January.
Testing of new equipment should be completed by the end of this month, the mayor said.
After several external tests last week, Mokgalapa and members of his mayoral committee drank glasses of the water, trying to prove to residents there is nothing to worry about.
And to give residents peace of mind, samples were collected on March 12 by the Magalies Water and Rietvlei Laboratory. The results found the water was 100% compliant in terms of the SA National Drinking Water Standards when it came to diseases such as E. coli and faecal coliform.
It was non-compliant in terms of ammonia and turbidity (cloudiness), but that did not pose a threat to consumers, Mokgalapa said.
But the DWS still believes this narrative is false, spokesperson Sputnik Ratau said.
“We’ve … seen results and [are] not convinced of the veracity of what the mayor is saying,” Ratau said.
SAHRC Gauteng region manager Buang Jones said the commission could not declare the water safe.
“We have directed the City of Tshwane to increase sampling points and continue with remedial work.
“We will only make a pronouncement once all the corrective actions have been taken.
“For now, we agree with the DWS as the regulator of the drinking water quality in the country,” he told The Citizen.