‘The president is cold – he is not in touch with reality’: Hammanskraal cholera victims head to court

Hammanskraal families affected by the cholera outbreak will take legal action against the government for the deaths of their loved ones.

President Cyril Ramaphosa visited the Rooiwal wastewater treatment plant that is at the centre of a cholera outbreak on June 8 2023.
Image: Ziphozonke Lushaba/ File photo

The families will tackle this with assistance from legal representatives in the area.

One of the legal representatives‚ who is also president of the political party Active African Christians United Movement‚ advocate Moafrika Wa Maila‚ said they expect about 350 people to be part of the lawsuit.

During an interview with Newzroom Afrika on Friday morning‚ Wa Maila said they will start with an urgent court application.

“We are demanding government must give people clean water as a necessity for human survival and as part of human rights. After that we are going to the Constitutional Court to demand the court declare the water people have been drinking and the service people have been getting are against their human rights. Then we are going the criminal way because once life is lost‚ a crime has been committed.”

He said somebody must be held liable for the deaths.

“Somebody has to be held liable. People are dying here‚ and the right to life has been infringed. The Bill of Rights is the cornerstone of our Constitution. Everybody has a right to life. This right has been been limited unfairly by dirty water from government. Who must take the blame? Who must we point a finger at?”

He said the following people must take the blame:

the president;
the minister of water and sanitation;
the MEC of water and sanitation in Gauteng;
the MMC of water and sanitation in Tshwane;
the minister of health;
the MEC of health in Gauteng;
the MMC of health in Tshwane;
the Gauteng premier; and
the Tshwane mayor.

Commenting on the president’s visit to the area on Thursday‚ Wa Maila said the meeting was not a true reflection of Hammanskraal as 90% of the people who died were in Kanana.

“He went to Themba Unit D‚ which is sort of an upmarket area where people can afford to buy water‚ where people are professionals‚ and not many poor people are there. Where people died in Kanana‚ that’s where unemployment is rife — that’s where people drink the water that killed them‚” he said.

The lawyer said the meeting was not for community members who were affected.

“He saw nothing. President Cyril Ramaphosa met not a single family affected‚ he never mentioned a surname‚ he never visited any family. He went to Rooiwal water treatment works instead of going to the families so he can speak from an informed perspective.

“The president is cold — he is not in touch with reality‚ he doesn’t feel the pain of the people. His speech was a political gimmick. They were there to campaign and they did it successfully‚ especially the premier of Gauteng. He is a star in campaigning. But as for a solution for people in Hammanskraal‚ after yesterday we are still asking questions about where to with water. He lied on TV that people are not dying. The numbers you are reporting are not true‚” he said.

Wa Maila accused the government of underreporting the numbers of cases.

“We were shocked there were new 11 cases that we never heard of. There is Kanana Clinic‚ people are dying there every day. There is Themba Clinic‚ people are dying there every day of cholera. They only report the ones at Jubilee Hospital. The issue has been going on but has been reported as E coli‚” he said

He said the president’s visit was grandstanding.

“It was a political gimmick. He spoke about six months. How many people will be dead in six months? He spoke about finishing the project in three years. How many people will be dead in three years? Does he understand people need to drink water? How do we resolve this issue now?”

Source: ARENA Holdings.


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