Anger over service delivery can leave Tshwane burning


After the Covid pandemic almost destabilised the country, it is once again a hopeless situation for the residents of Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria.

They have been subjected to a cholera outbreak because of Tshwane municipality’s negligence when it comes to addressing the water crisis that has been affecting the area.

For years, the community of Hammanskraal has been struggling to get potable water from the city. Hence, this cholera outbreak should come as no surprise because these residents have been denied their democratic right of access to clean water for far too long.

ALSO READ: EFF demands mayor drink water from Hammanskraal as R450m allocated to Rooiwal upgrades

Cholera has claimed at least 17 lives. About 165 people have been admitted at Jubilee District Hospital in Temba, while laboratory confirmed cholera cases stand at 29. The city’s leadership must act urgently before more lives are lost.

The community is angry and tired of empty promises. And this led to Tshwane mayor Cilliers Brink being denied access to the area on Monday. If this is not a wake-up call for the mayor, it will not be clear to everyone who is serving in his administration.

So, the Democratic Alliance (DA) must take full responsibility and stop engaging in a blame game, insisting the national government should be addressing the problem. Tshwane metro must deliver clean water to the residents of Hammanskraal.

It is shocking that, nearly 30 years after democracy, citizens still don’t have the respect and dignity they deserve.

ALSO READ: Hammanskraal water not cholera contaminated, but not safe to drink

Most residents of Hammanskraal have no running water and drainage systems. They are just subjected to money-hungry truckers who feed them with unclean water. It’s a shame to be a resident of Hammanskraal.

Although it is commendable that the national department of water and sanitation, as well as the Gauteng provincial health department have set up a command centre aimed to stop the spread of this water-borne disease – it is not enough.

Government should assist in employing community health workers in raising awareness about cholera in the poor communities and distributing supplies that are a preventative measure to this devastating outbreak.

Overall, the government must ensure that such cholera outbreaks never happen. We need government from every sphere to invest in water and hygiene infrastructure.

ALSO READ: Blame game continues: ANC accuses DA of neglect in Hammanskraal cholera outbreak

But at the rate things are going, next year’s general elections will be known for the lowest voter turnout since 1994. And as that happens, our problems in the country will be worse because a stable government won’t exist as a result of erratic coalitions.

For as long as housing, employment, poverty and service delivery issues are not addressed, nothing will change. Because people will continue building informal settlements, which government’s revenue will not be able to keep up with when it comes to countering the problem.

And these unhabitable informal settlements will be the reason this country attracts all forms of diseases. All in all, we are doomed. But not unless our healthcare industry’s capacities are improved drastically.

This is one thing the Covid pandemic has taught us as a nation. And while they are sorting out this health crisis, they must also deal with the other problem of cattle, donkeys and goats roaming around on the Hammanskraal side of the N1 before lives are also lost. It seems the relevant authorities are not doing anything about it.

ALSO READ: Hammanskraal cholera outbreak: Water experts say they warned government about the issue

It is high time that the DA administration channels its budget to real issues that are affecting the townships of Tshwane. It is now a matter of urgency for the finances of the city to be restructured and stabilised.

The residents of Tshwane can’t be left with an administration that continuously fails them. On top of everything, service delivery is still a problem and the city must gather itself to order.

If it continues to be business as usual, it will only be a matter of time until the residents take to the streets and Tshwane is left burning.