Only a few staff members have reported for duty at the Mofumahadi Manapo Mopeli and Elizabeth Ross hospitals in the eastern Free State due to water shortages in the QwaQwa area. Some of the nurses and doctors have been on duty for over 24 hours due to the protest over the poor water supply in the area. Nurses who reported for duty on Monday are trapped inside the hospitals and those who are supposed to relieve them cannot make it to work due to roads being blockaded.

On Monday the angry community protested over the death of an eight-year-old girl, Mosa Mbele, who drowned on Saturday while fetching water from a river. Doctor Manapo Mopeli says measures are in place to transport emergency cases to Bloemfontein for further care.  “I’ve been working for 24 hours but there hasn’t been any emergency that has needed outside assistance. If we struggle, we are able to take patients to Bloemfontein. Apart from that, we are just trying our best, that’s all we can do.”

Residents have threatened to render the area ungovernable until their demand for reliable water supply has been met. Angry protesters vowed to take more drastic action if the authorities fail to address their demands. They are also calling for the current mayor to step down.

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