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Residents threaten to take grievances to the polls

As South Africans prepare to go for the local government elections next month, some are already threatening to take their grievances to the polls.

Service delivery remains a serious issue for many communities across the country. Residents of Hammalskraal and Mamelodi are up in arms, they say they are tired of the empty promises they always get from the government officials.

In Hammalskraal the residents have been receiving contaminated water for over 16 years with no solution. A 2019 report by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) deemed the water in the area not suitable for human consumption, and still this has not changed.

Maria Lekomane (41) who has lived in Hammalskraal for 18 years said that the water is too dirty and sometimes they find moving particles in it.

“The water tastes bad; it looks dirty even when we try to boil it we can see some foam starting to form on top. Some people have no choice, but to drink it,” said Lekomane.

Lekomane said it is clear that the government does not care about residents. “The government and the City of Tshwane have failed us, we are just waiting for elections to make changes,” she said.

Lucky Maluleke (22) said they always have a running stomach because of the water they receive. “I stay with my granny and she takes blood pressure medication, and we cannot afford to buy five litter bottle of water so she takes the medication with the water and always complain about stomach pains,”

“The ANC government will be the end of us, something needs to be done, and voting them out is the only option,” said Maluleke.

The City of Tshwane Executive Mayor, Randall Williams said the challenges in Hammalskraal were first identified in 2004 when reports were presented to the then administration highlighting that waste-water infrastructure was deteriorating and would not be able to sustain the population growth.

“These reports were ignored, the population more than doubled and no interventions were put in place for over a decade. The infrastructure significantly degraded such that by 2015 the water in parts of Hammalskraal was undrinkable,” said Williams.

Williams said the City has allocated R300 Million to upgrade the plant and work has already begun. “Phase 1 of the work is currently underway and standing at 58% completion with finalisation expected in October 2022,” 

He added that residents have every right to be angry and frustrated by this situation.

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