Dr Chana Pilane-Majake, the Deputy Minister for the Public Service and Administration, conducted unannounced service delivery site visits and held multi-sectoral and solutions-driven engagement in the Hammanskraal community yesterday, 15 November 2023.

The Deputy Minister was accompanied by the Gauteng MEC for Economic Development, Ms Tasneem Motara, the City of Tshwane Region 2 head, Mr Godfrey Mnguni, Councillors Mr Adam Mashapa and Mr Aaron Maluleka, stakeholder representatives and community members, who supported her in the provision of updates and fielding of engagement questions.

This engagement aimed to gather valuable insights and feedback from the stakeholders to develop effective strategies for improving service delivery in Hammanskraal in partnership with the Government.

“Stakeholder engagement is embedded in the workings and processes of the Government to understand the needs of communities better and find solutions to the challenges they face. [For this reason] I am not here as Deputy Minister to tell you what to do, but rather to listen and learn from you about what is working and what is not working,” the Deputy Minister explained.

Hammanskraal, located north of the City of Tshwane, is part of the municipality’s administrative Region 2, which comprises twelve (12) Wards. Of the total number of Wards in Region 2, nine (9) are in severely under-developed communities covering Hammanskraal and surrounding areas.

Although the communities face multiple other challenges, the ongoing issues of water and sanitation were uppermost in the minds of the nearly 300 community members who attended the stakeholder engagement.

In May this year, the community of Hammanskraal and surrounding areas were under a national spotlight after a fatal outbreak of cholera. The incident prompted an action plan to resolve the community’s perennial water and sanitation quality challenges after President Cyril Ramaphosa’s visit in June this year in the aftermath of the cholera outbreak.

Cholera is associated with unhygienic living conditions, and the outbreak was symptomatic of the community’s developmental challenges, including limited access to essential services and high poverty levels. The lack of sanitation facilities and clean drinking water has contributed to the spread of diseases like cholera, and inadequate healthcare facilities and infrastructure further exacerbate their vulnerability.

The Deputy Minister’s multi-sectoral stakeholder engagement kicked off with an early morning briefing at the Rooiwal Water Treatment Plant, which is critical to providing the long-term solution to the water and sanitation challenges of Hammaskraal and surrounding communities.

At the briefing attended by the plant managers, ward councillors, and officials from the City of Tshwane, the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA), and the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS), the Deputy Minister received a detailed update on the plans to turn around the Rooiwal Water Treatment Plant into a facility that would provide safe and clean water to the residents of the city.

In addition to short to medium-term solutions, including the provision of water tanks, the Deputy Minister was also updated on the involvement of the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DPSA) and the Magalies Water Board, an agency of the DWS would assist the City of Tshwane with the rehabilitation and expansion of the facility over three years ending June 2026.

While the source of the cholera outbreak had not been conclusive, the state of the Rooiwal Waste Water Treatment Plant determines the water quality of the Apies River that the residents of Hammanskraal ultimately depend on, the Deputy Minister heard.

“As we progress, our commitment to enhancing access to essential services, such as water and sanitation, remains steadfast. We warmly embrace the recent announcement made by Mr. Senzo Mchunu, the Minister of Water and Sanitation, regarding the commencement of construction for a packaged wastewater treatment plant this month. We are pleased to report that the Magalies Water Board has already appointed a contractor for this significant project,” she later reported back to the community stakeholders.

According to Deputy Minister Dr Pilane-Majake, the solution-driven stakeholder engagements in the Hammanskraal community are not meant to start new processes other than those that the Government has initiated under the leadership of President Ramaphosa at the national level.

The Deputy Minister explained that the stakeholder engagements aim to build upon existing government initiatives and address the specific needs of the Hammanskraal community, drawing on the lessons learned from the implementation of the District Development Model (DDM) that the President Ramaphosa is spearheading in other parts of the country.

The Deputy Minister emphasised that the stakeholder engagements in Hammanskraal are part of a broader strategy to ensure inclusive and sustainable development in all communities. By leveraging the success of the District Development Model, the Government aims to tailor interventions to meet the unique challenges faced by the Hammanskraal community, ultimately improving their quality of life and promoting economic growth.

As part of the Service Delivery site visits, the Deputy Minister conducted an unannounced visit to Jubilee District Hospital, learning first-hand the daily challenges of patients and staff. The unannounced visit to the hospital was undertaken against an assessment conducted by DPSA officials from the service delivery branch of the department, which looked at accessibility, signage, queue management, and the quality of patient care, among other service indicators, and concluded with feedback and an engagement session with the management team of Jubilee District Hospital.

The Deputy Minister also visited the local Vulamanzi Replication Project at Odirile Centre for Persons with Mental and Physical Disabilities for a demonstration of a mini-water purification system that had been installed with the help of the Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI).

“The legislative framework, guided by Section 152 of the Constitution, mandates us to provide services sustainably, promote a safe and healthy environment, foster social and economic development, and ensure democratic and accountable governance. As a result, we must encourage the involvement of communities and organisations in local Government matters. Through this engagement, we strive to achieve a government that is responsive to the needs of its people,” said the Deputy Minister during the stakeholder engagement.