2C – Cholera & sanitation

Supporting article C: South Africa, like the rest of the continent needs a serious mind shift if cholera is to be rooted out.


Posted – 11 Jun 2009 :  13:09:43
Mthatha — The Department of Water and Environmental Affairs has launched an investigation over the alleged polluted water in Eastern Cape following the death of eight people who are believed to have eaten meals prepared with the water.

The eight people, who had suffered from diarrhoea and vomiting, were from the Mpheko Village, which falls under the OR Tambo Municipality.

Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs Buyelwa Sonjica said an investigation has been launched and departmental officials have been dispatched to the area and are working very closely with the villagers.

Water samples have been collected from the traditional water sources in the area namely Mpheko River and Phantsi Kwentaba Spring. The results are expected to be released on Wednesday.

“The Department of Water and Environmental Affairs will coordinate its efforts closely with the Provincial department of Health and the OR Tambo District Municipality as the Water Service Authority in the area including strengthening of monitoring processes to prevent any further related incidents,” Ms Sonjica said on Monday.

Furthermore, the department will also deploy other resources to promote health and hygiene and put closer attention to disinfection of water meant for domestic consumption.

The department will also put more effort into the monitoring processes in the area to ensure that a recurrence does not happen, Minister Sonjica said.

The minister expressed her sincerest condolences to the families.

In March, the department had allocated an additional budget to the current Municipal Infrastructure Grant and the Bulk Infrastructure Grant.

During the current term, an additional 1.465 million households have been provided with basic access to water supply thus increasing access from 80 percent to 91 percent measured against the 2004 base.

With regard to sanitation, an additional 1.16 million households were served with basic sanitation thereby increasing access from 66 percent to 74 percent measured against the 2004 benchmark.

The department announced that it will be providing an additional R500 million in 2009/10 in order to deal with some of the immediate challenges in the provision of water and sanitation.

Eastern Cape Health Department spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said a post-mortem would be conducted to determine the cause of death.