What is the latest cholera death toll?
On Thursday, the Department of Health confirmed the cholera outbreak death toll stood at 31, 29 of which were recorded in Gauteng.
The source of the outbreak remains unknown, but attention has been drawn to the functioning of the Rooiwal waste treatment plant.
President Ramaphosa commenced his visit at the Rooiwal plant in Tshwane, where he met with officials responsible for its operation. Accompanied by Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi and Tshwane Mayor Cilliers Brink, the president aimed to understand the crisis gripping the Hammanskraal community, who have long endured the absence of safe drinking water.
The ageing Rooiwal plant, constructed in the 1970s, has faced significant challenges over the years. Responsible for purifying a substantial portion of the city’s water supply, it has become the focal point of the current crisis.
Recent revelations indicated that a contract worth R295 million, awarded in 2019 to a joint venture linked to controversial businessman Edwin Sodi, failed to deliver as expected and was terminated in 2022 due to non-performance.
Ramaphosa grills Tshwane officials about Rooiwal tender
During President Ramaphosa’s visit, he was shown a section of the plant where visible sewage flowed through pipes, intended for later consumption.
However, the majority of pipes in the water waste area were found to be non-functional, resulting in the retention of dirty and polluted water instead of the intended light brown colour.
In a candid exchange with a City official responsible for Tshwane’s waste plants, referred to as David, President Ramaphosa probed the relationship between the failed tender process and the ongoing water crisis in Hammanskraal.
David explained that the joint venture did not fulfil its obligations, leading to the termination of the contract due to non-performance and internal disputes among the involved parties.
The City of Tshwane has allocated over R400 million for renovation efforts over three years, with an additional R4 billion expected from a loan granted by the Development Bank of Southern Africa.
However, this loan is contingent upon a guarantee from the National Treasury. If secured, a new contractor will be engaged, and the project to complete the necessary phases is anticipated to commence in September 2023.
The entire undertaking is projected to conclude by 2026, according to City of Tshwane officials.