Water shortages leave Eastern Cape hospital in dire situation

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Water shortages in Peddie in the Eastern Cape has put Nompumelelo Hospital in a dire situation. This as patients and staff had to ferry water from outside the hospital building.

The three-week water shortage can be attributed to the prolonged Amathole District Municipal worker’s strike and the ongoing drought.

Water is a basic human need, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the water cut at the hospital has put the lives of the healthcare workers at risk.

Nehawu secretary Mlungiseleli Ncapayi says workers cannot continue to risk their lives.

“Our serious concerns is that their lives are not safe, we can never continue to say workers must risk their lives and provide services regardless. We are monitoring the situation; where we feel they have to save their lives, we are going to give them that instruction.”

Residents in the Peddie area have raised concerns. One of them says getting admitted to a hospital without water is like walking into a death house.

The Department of Health acknowledges the impact on healthcare at the hospital. Spokesperson for the department, Siyanda Manana, says the department has a supplier to deliver water to the hospital on a daily basis, but the supplier has problems.

“What we did as the government was to supply water to the hospital on daily basis. The supplier was supposed to supply 120 000 litres on daily basis. However, the supplier had problems so could not meet the demands of 120 000 litres; he provided between 20 000 to 40 000 litres on daily basis. This means that the inside of the hospital could not have water, the doctor’s headquarters also do not have water.”


The Amathole District Municipality as the oversight municipality in the area has intervened. Municipal spokesperson Nonceba Madikizela-Mavuso says a valve that had been opened has now been fixed.

“There was a valve that was opened purposely, where water was just running in the open field. This has now been fixed, the valve has been fixed. A strainer was closed, a strainer is usually place next to a meter to prevent dirt from coming in and closing the system; now it was purposely closed. We have opened it and the levels are building up in to the reservoir, it should take plus minus 12 hours for water to be restored in the area of Peddie.”

Nehawu says although the water has been restored at Nompumelelo Hospital, they will continue to monitor the situation. They have warned that should there be another water cut, it might lead to their members downing tools.

Water shortages leave Eastern Cape’s Nompumelelo Hospital in a dire situation: