Joint project to resolve water and sanitation challenges in Hammanskraal is taking shape | Infrastructure news

Minister of Water and Sanitation, Senzo Mchunu, together with the Executive Mayor of the City of Tshwane, Cllr Cilliers Brink announced that they will work together to fix the Rooiwal Waste Water Treatment Works in Hammanskraal.

The Minister and Mayor indicated that they would hold a further media briefing before the end of this week to provide more detail.


The Hammanskraal community north of Tshwane was devastated recently when an outbreak of cholera occurred in the area, leading to loss of life and some residents being hospitalised. So far, there have been 173 reported cases of cholera and 24 people have lost their lives (23 from Hammanskraal and 1 from Parys in Ngwathe Municipality in Free State).

A team of officials from the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS), together with the national and provincial Departments of Health, as well as the affected municipalities (the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality and the Ngwathe Local Municipality), continue to conduct tests in order to determine the source of the cholera bacteria.

To date, the original source of the cholera infection has not been located. However, it is possible that the cholera outbreak in Hammanskraal is related to the pollution of water sources in the area from the City’s Rooiwal Waste Water (sewage) Treatment Works, situated upstream of Hammanskraal, which has not been well-maintained for many years, and which has insufficient capacity to deal with the volume of wastewater entering the works.

The Rooiwal Waste Water Treatment Works is polluting the Apies River which flows into the Leeukraal Dam, from which water is abstracted by the City’s Temba Water Treatment Works. The Temba Water Treatment Works is supposed to clean the raw water abstracted from the dam and treat it so that it is fit for human consumption.

However, the water in the dam is so polluted that the Temba Water Treatment Works is not able to treat the water such that it meets the required standards for drinking water.

For this reason, the City of Tshwane has warned the residents of Hammanskraal not to drink tap water and is using water tankers to supply them with drinking water.

However, tests on the water from the Temba Water Treatment Works indicate that it does not contain cholera bacteria and that it can be used for other purposes such as personal hygiene, dishwashing, and washing of clothes.

DWS and the City have estimated the cost of full rehabilitation and upgrade of the Rooiwal wastewater treatment works to be in the region of R4 billion.

The project can be implemented in stages, with an emphasis on work to stop or reduce the pollution from Rooiwal in the early stages.

The Mayor and the City have indicated that the City does not have the capacity on its own to address the sanitation challenges, nor does it have sufficient funds to address the challenges timeously on its own. In light of the cholera outbreak, it is imperative that the Department and the City form a partnership to repair and upgrade the Rooiwal wastewater treatment works.

Agreement between DWS and the City

The Minister and Mayor have agreed that:

  • DWS and the City will partner together to jointly manage a project to fix the infrastructure problems in Hammanskraal
  • Tshwane will contribute a portion of its Urban Settlements Development Grant (USDG) allocations (yesterday Council approved the allocation of R450 million over the next three municipal financial years)
  • The DBSA will be appointed as an independent implementing agent to manage the design and construction work
  • DWS and the City will form a joint steering committee to oversee the project.

Implementation Plan

DWS, the City and National Treasury have agreed that there is a need to secure funding to fix and upgrade the Rooiwal WWTW. They are working together with the DBSA to develop a financing plan which identifies the optimal financial structuring for the project.

Options being considered include sourcing funds from other grants and DBSA loan and bridging finance, amongst others.

The project will start in the meantime, using the allocation which has been made from Tshwane’s USDG grant (possibly supplemented by DBSA loan or bridging finance).

The process of appointing the DBSA as implementing agent has been initiated, as well as the development of detailed technical plans for the repairs and upgrades, including scoping the project stages and tender specifications for the first stage.

Short-term interventions

Firstly, between August this year and March 2024, an improved wastewater technology solution will be installed at the Rooiwal plant that will treat the sewerage better and increase the quality of discharged effluent into Apies River. This will reduce the levels of E-coli from the treated sewerage water that is released into the Apies River.

Secondly, in order to improve drinking water provision to the residents of Hammanskraal, Magalies Water will install a portable water treatment plant (called a ‘package plant’) at its Klipdrift Water Treatment Works near Hammanskraal.

This will produce 30-40 Ml/day of treated drinking water which will be fed into the Hammanskraal piped water distribution system. There is an existing connection between the Klipdrift Water Treatment Works and the piped water distribution system in Hammanskraal.

The package plant will be implemented in a phased approach with 10Ml/day at a time. Magalies Water will start installing the plant from July 2023 and it will be completed by March 2024.

By the time it is complete, it will provide sufficient drinking water to supply the residents of Hammanskraal with drinking water from their taps.

When the package plant is complete, the City will be able to stop supplying residents with water from the Temba Water Treatment Works, and rather supply them with water from the package plant, until the quality of water from the Temba Treatment Works meets drinkable standards again.

The supply of drinking water from the Magalies Water package plant will also enable the City to stop supplying water using water tankers.

However, in the meantime, the City will continue to provide the residents with drinking water through water tankers services at designated water filling points. This will be accompanied by regular testing of the water that is being provided by the tankers.

The City will be engaging with community structures to assist it to monitor that the water tankers are drawing water from the correct sources and that the testing is done regularly.

Repair and upgrading of the Rooiwal Waste Water Works

The repair and upgrading of the Rooiwal Waste Water Works will be done in three phases. The first phase will be to complete the repair project started by the City which is currently standing at 68% completion. The result of this repair work will be improved quality of effluent from the works.

This phase is planned to start in September 2023 and end in November 2024. The second phase will involve the upgrading of the plant’s treatment capacity by 50 Ml of wastewater per day (ML/day), coupled with the desilting of sludge at the Leeukraal dam.

The desilting of the dam will enable the Temba Water Treatment Works (WTW) to function better and produce drinking water that meets minimum standards. This phase is planned to start in October 2024 and end in June 2025.

The third phase will involve adding a further 80Ml/day of capacity to the plant. The current capacity of the plant is 250 ML/day. After Phase 2 and Phase 3, it will improve to a capacity of 380 ML/day.

This will be sufficient to treat the current and future projected wastewater load in Hammanskraal. The third phase is planned to start in July 2024 and end in June 2026.

Summary and conclusion

The installation of the packaging plant by Magalies Water will result in the residents of Hammanskraal having piped drinking water by March 2024.

In the meantime, residents will continue to be supplied with drinking water from tankers, with strict monitoring and controls. Short-term measures will also be taken to reduce the pollution of the Apies River by the Rooiwal Waste Water Treatment Works.

The repair and upgrading of the Rooiwal Waste Water Treatment Works will result in the Temba Water Treatment Works being able to provide drinking water that meets the required standards by June 2026, which can then replace the water from the packaging plant.

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