File photo: African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Pretoria – People in Hammanskraal must desist from drinking water supplied by the City of Tshwane because it poses a danger to their lives, South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) provincial manager Buang Jones has warned.
He was speaking to the Pretoria News ahead of the meeting by the SAHRC with the Department of Water and Sanitation and the City of Tshwane today in Braamfontein.

He said the toxicity of the water was confirmed by a scientific report, which was done by CSIR scientists in June.

The sampling was conducted at the Temba Water Treatment Works, Kekana Primary School, Refentse Clinic and Hammanskraal Secondary School. Jones sounded alarm bells that the water could potentially stunt the growth of babies.

Those who consumed the water could develop cancer in the long term, he said. He advised residents not to drink that water at all.

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“It will be irresponsible to tell people to continue drinking the water while scientists have concerns, because one day they could come back and sue Buang Jones.”

He warned the City to be careful about making comments on the report “because this thing is dangerous”.

“The CSIR is independent; it is a reputable institution. That is why the City needs to respect the water regulator (Water and Sanitation),” he said.


According to him, the study into water quality was a collective effort between the commission, City and the department.

“We said to each other ‘let’s stop doing the grandstanding’. It was us, the City and the department, and now that the results are not favourable to them (the City), they want to contest them. It doesn’t make sense,” he said.

He said the commission was worried about the poor, who had to buy water.

“Those getting social grants also have to buy water,” he said.

The three parties will on August 20 host a community meeting to share the report findings. They will also embark on a campaign around water “so that people must know what they are drinking”.

Water and Sanitation spokesperson Sputnik Ratau said the report was technical and would not be made public at this stage.

“The report is very technical. We are still trying to make it as user-friendly as possible,” he said.

The report confirmed what the department had always known about the unhealthy water.

Last week, MMC for Utility Services Abel Tau criticised Jones for speaking out about the report’s findings before he could engage him.

“We were supposed to discuss the findings before they go public with them. Jones said the meeting happened, but we didn’t meet with them to discuss the results. Personally, I don’t know the results,” he said.

He questioned the SAHRC’s motive to go public about this particular report. The City had previously conducted tests of the water that showed it was healthy.

“At the time, the SAHRC said it would not release the results. I don’t want to cast aspersions on the Chapter 9 institution, but why does it have this energy to speak about the results that are negative against us?”

Pretoria News