The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) has called on the City of Tshwane to take immediate action after it found the drinking water supplied to Hammanskraal has been contaminated with E. Coli.
Drinking water a long-standing issue in Hammanskraal
OUTA was shocked to learn that nothing has been done despite an independent South African National Accreditation System-accredited water laboratory conducting a random water sample in Hammanskraal and it was found not to be fit for consumption in July 2019.
“The water quality is worse than in December 2018 when the community raised the same concerns. We call on Tshwane to take urgent action on this matter,” said OUTA’s operations executive Julius Kleynhans at the time.
In 2018, residents shut down Hammanskraal, barricading roads with burning tires, over the poor quality of drinking water.
Yet, the sample was taken on 5 July 2019 at the Hammanskraal Metro Police regional office and no action has been taken to date. It actually appears to be getting worse as E. coli has now been found in the water.
“Our follow up sample found traces of E. coli and nitrates in the drinking water on the date the sample was taken which indicates faecal contaminants in the drinking water supply. Drinking the water can result in stomach cramps, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting which is an acute health risk,” Kleynhans said.
E. coli found in the water
The results indicate high concentrations of nitrites (NO2) and nitrates (NO3) which pose a chronic health risk to some babies as well as E. coli of 32 units per 100ml of water.
While the number is below the level of E. coli generally found to be safe in public swimming areas, such as beaches, drinking water should have zero E. coli after it has been treated.
“Drinking water must be clean at the point of consumption, meaning all taps and any taps supplied by the source must comply to standards. The mere fact that the sample was taken in a public space where the public has access to it poses a severe risk to the community who uses that water and cannot ever be frowned upon,” added Kleynhans.
OUTA to present findings to the City of Tshwane
This secondary outcry from OUTA seems to have done the trick, though, as the City of Tshwane has asked the organisation to present its findings on 13 August, which it agreed to do.
“We trust that the City will act swiftly and responsibly to assist the community with access to clean drinking water,” Kleynhans said.
However, it does mean that it will be at least another week until the city officials will consider the data, let alone come up with a plan of action and the contaminated drinking water continues to flow in the interim.