No signs of cholera, illnesses due to Hammanskraal water

Provincial manager for the SA Human Rights Commision, Buang Jones, in a red bib, is seen at the Jubilee District Hospital during an inspection after residents of Hammanskraal alleged that their rights were being violated by contaminated water, 17 July 2018, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

Provincial manager for the SA Human Rights Commision, Buang Jones, in a red bib, is seen at the Jubilee District Hospital during an inspection after residents of Hammanskraal alleged that their rights were being violated by contaminated water, 17 July 2018, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

The Gauteng office of the SA Human Rights Commission made an unannounced visit to Jubilee hospital yesterday and gave it the all-clear.

There are no signs of any diarrhoeal conditions or confirmed cholera cases caused by contaminated water in the Hammanskraal area, despite complaints and allegations that the water supplied by the City of Tshwane is harmful.

The Gauteng office of SA Human Rights Commission (HRC) made an unannounced visit to one of the largest district hospitals, Jubilee, yesterday in response to complaints that the water supplied to the area was the cause of serious ailments.

But there were no such cases reported to the hospital, even though the issue of clean water in the surrounding areas was a growing concern, said Jubilee’s chief executive, Damaria Magano.

“As for water-related diseases, we can’t say we’ve seen an increase in diarrhoeal conditions,” she said. “Maybe at the clinics, but once such cases go to the clinics and become severe, they are often referred to us as a hospital, and we haven’t seen any of that.”

Magano said about six water tanks were installed by the Gauteng department of infrastructure development in 2016 and that the digging of boreholes as an alternative water supply for the hospital would start soon.

“We are not folding our arms. When immediately there is no water, we use our petty cash and purchase water for our staff and patients. It is general knowledge that the City of Tshwane and Hammanskraal have issues of water,” said Magano.

The hospital’s clinical manager, Dr Olebogeng Modise, said their water supply was often sent for tests at Wits University to detect any harmful agents.

“For now, there is no sign of cholera or any contamination,” said Modise. “I think those rumours are false.”

Following a tense week of protests that left roads in Hammanskraal barricaded with burning tyres, Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga met the residents on Friday. The residents agreed to end the unrest to allow the city to address the water problem.

Msimanga, Tshwane city manager Moeketsi Mosola and the Gauteng department of water and sanitation are expected to appear before the commission tomorrow to explain the current water situation.

rorisangk@citizen.co.za

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