Cholera has claimed the lives of at least 47 people across the country, with over 35 deaths recorded in Gauteng, particularly in the Hammanskraal area within the Tshwane Metro Council.
The Health Department is sounding a warning to residents in affected areas to be vigilant of the water and liquids they consume. This comes amid growing calls from unions, and the civil society for urgent intervention.
However, communities who’ve been battling to access clean water for weeks, say the situation has become dire.
One resident says, “This situation doesn’t sit right with us you know, because you cant live without water because we use it every day. Right now we are forced to use rain water, its not safe but what can we do, we don’t have a choice.:
Another resident says, “It is a painful situation, and has made our life so difficult. We have to constantly look for a safe place to get water its not right.”
On Saturday, the Free State Health Department said the Water and Sanitation Department and municipalities are the only authenticated authorities to speak about water quality.
This comes after the lobby group AfriForum said an expert had tested water in areas along the Vaal River and found that there were more cholera cases in seven areas of the province.
AfriForum said the areas included Parys and Thabong in Welkom.
The department’s spokesperson, Mondli Mvambi, said there are no new cholera infections and the death toll remains at two in the province.
“The Free State Department of Health can confirm that there is no cholera outbreak in Matjhabeng. But we continue to encourage members of the public to drink water from sources that are reliable and treatable water, not drink water that is untreated from the rivers and anywhere else. That is the message we are sticking with.” -Reporting by Phanule Shuma and Nozintombi Miya