ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula addresses the community of Hammanskraal following the outbreak of cholera that claimed over 20 lives.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi
ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula on Thursday visited the Hammanskraal area following the deadly cholera outbreak that has claimed more than 20 lives.
Mbalula paid a visit to some of the bereaved families after he met with scores of locals at the Mandela Hall, where community members laid bare their water struggles.
They shared their grievances about the dirty water and poor service delivery in the area.
As aggrieved community members raised their concerns, one suggested that government should compensate families who lost their loved ones to the preventable infection, placing the compensation figure at around R6m for each life lost.
The elderly complained that they could not afford to buy water since their tap water was deemed unsafe for consumption, and there was no certainty that the water received from tankers was also safe.
The community of Hammanskraal came out in numbers to hear what the ANC secretary Fikile Mbalula had to say to them following the outbreak of cholera that claimed over 20 lives in the last month.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi
One pastor complained that the water they used had a stench to it even after it was boiled.
Responding to whether there is a need to declare a state of disaster to the Hammanskraal situation, Mbalula said what government needs is a focused approach.
“What government needs now is a focused approach, which is what they are doing right now. We don’t need a state of disaster. We need a focused approach that deals with the crisis and have a project management – all hands on deck and classify this as an area of importance,” he said.
Mbalula was welcomed into two homes that have lost family members to cholera in recent days.
Chris Ndhlovu, lost his father, Johannes Mathonsi and sister Cilvia Ndhlovu in a short space of time, said he still can’t accept or believe the loss.
“My father got sick early Friday, May 12 and he went to the hospital with my mother. They were all fine and at that time [and] my sister was still OK. They stayed one day in the hospital then my sister got sick on Saturday. On Sunday, May 14 at about 2pm they called and said my sister had passed on,” he said.
Chris said his father, mother, sister and nephew all had stomach cramps, diarrhoea and were vomiting.
He said following his sister’s death they were again called on May 18 and told their father had also passed.
“We are in pain, too much pain,” he said of the loss.
He said he was happy with Mbalula’s visit as the family were in need.
Mbalula said they were in Hammanskraal to pass their condolences and interact with the community.
“We want to thank all the healthcare workers and also the national government and provincial government for responding to this crisis. We know that everything that has happened is inadequate. A lot still needs to be done,” he said.
He said they have urged national government to work with the local municipality.
“We are not here bickering. We are faced with a bigger challenge and we need to intervene. We have met with our ministers at national level and we were here to convey the message to the people of Hammanskraal. We have urged the national government to work with the local municipality here to intervene in terms of the water issues and the big thing of capacity for water challenges that Hammanskraal is facing,” Mbalula said.
All we are saying about the DA is to state the fact that they are in power, they run the city, they can’t – every time there is a challenge at the local government – say ‘it’s not us’ who is running Tshwane
Fikile Mbalula, ANC secretary-general
Mbalula said they will return to the area in about two weeks to monitor progress on the issues that the community raised that needs to be addressed.
“We are not blaming DA. Where we are facing challenges we take responsibility. All we are saying about the DA is to state the fact that they are in power, they run the city, they cant – every time there is a challenge at the local government – say ‘it’s not us’ who is running Tshwane.”
“We are not here interested in bickering. Our people are dying and I have said to the community the ANC is fully aware that there are claims of corruption, monies were allocated and they went down the drain, we know that some of the major projects in terms of water in the country came to a halt and they have now been resuscitated and the projects are back on track,” he said.
Commenting on the state of the city while in the DA’s hands, he said: “They have been changing mayors like socks, week in and out, and that is what affects governance. The budget belongs to them. I didn’t come to Hammanskraal to complain about the DA, I am here to convey the message to people and to the ministers to say ‘work with this DA government to help the people here’,” he said.
He said people who have pocketed money whether under the ANC administration or another, should be brought to book.
“And if our systems and law enforcement are not working, let’s look for better solutions,” he said.