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By Marizka Coetzer


Tshwane mayor ‘is on a witch-hunt’ over Rooiwal tender controversy

ANC alleges mayor Brink's suspension of officials is politically motivated, as Hammanskraal residents suffer water crisis.

The ANC in Tshwane has accused the city’s mayor, Cilliers Brink, of being on a witch-hunt after suspending five senior officials over the failed Rooiwal Waste Water Treatment Works.

The cause of the cholera outbreak in Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria, in May last year, that claimed 23 lives was still unknown nearly a year later.

Over the weekend, city of Tshwane spokesperson Selby Bokaba said five senior officials were put on precautionary suspension over the Rooiwal tender award, following the outcome of a yearlong internal disciplinary process.

Awaiting report regarding suspension

ANC greater Tshwane regional secretary George Matjila said they were still awaiting the report regarding the suspension of five city officials.

“We have seen the city manager and the mayor appropriating council business to themselves. The DA-led coalition wants to control the narrative about good governance, and they have desperately finalised the matter of Rooiwal Wastewater Treatment Plant for electioneering,” he said.

ALSO READ: WATCH: No more contracts with state capture-implicated people at Rooiwal, says Tshwane mayor

Matjila said the ANC was shocked Brink wanted to decide his own process to the Labour Court for review and viewed it as a distrust of the city’s internal disciplinary processes.

“It may indicate that the mayor is now on a witch-hunt. The ANC supports all efforts to combat corruption and malfeasance, but will not allow the DA-led coalition to play politics, instead of following all council procedures,” he said.

Brink anticipated political backlash

Brink said he anticipated political backlash, following the suspension of the five senior officials.

“When you fix wrongdoing in the city, there will always be people who rally politicians to their cause. I saw that when the previous mayor tried to act against the GladAfrica Group findings and he was threatened with a motion of no confidence,” he said.

Brink said they were ready to face the political backlash for doing the right thing in the city.

ALSO READ: Still no hope for Hammanskraal

A Hammanskraal farmer, Theunis Vogel, said he has seen everyone come to visit Rooiwal and promise to fix the area but go without doing anything.

Complaints for 20 years

Vogel has been complaining about the bad quality of water in the area for the past 20 years.

“During the court case in 2016, they said they were doing upgrades on Rooiwal. Also, in 2019, they promised to repair and upgrade Rooiwal and then the money went missing,” he said.

Vogel said the sewerage has been running into the Apies River for the past four years, while promises were made to upgrade the waste water system.

“We had a meeting with the city recently and they agreed to meet with us in May about the water tankers,” he said.

ALSO READ: WATCH: No more contracts with state capture-implicated people at Rooiwal, says Tshwane mayor

Vogel said it was back and forth with court cases between residents and the city with no clean water.

“We will see what will happen after that meeting. We have 69 smallholdings that need water and we cannot use the borehole water anymore because it is also contaminated with sewage. Our property value has dropped because of the state of the water,” he said.

Health hazards to residents

Vogal said the stink, the contaminated water, and the flies were all health hazards to the residents.

“I am hopeful that the meeting next month would bring some changes for us in Hammanskraal seeing that the elections are around the corner,” he said.