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‘Despite MEC’s reassurance, hospital had no water”

THE GALESHEWE Day Hospital was among the facilities that were affected by the lack of water on the weekend, despite reassurances from the MEC for Health, Mase Manopole, who visited the facility last week.

During her visit, Manopole raised the suspicion of deliberate sabotage of the on-site water tanks but gave the assurance to the public that the problem had been addressed.

The nursing union Hospersa (Health and Other Services Personnel Trade Union of South Africa) yesterday lashed out at the Department of Health, pointing out that despite reassurances from the MEC that problems with the storage tanks and infrastructure had been sorted out, this was evidently not the case.

“The nurses had to struggle throughout the weekend without any water,” Hospersa said yesterday.

“Community members were surprised to find that despite the promises from the MEC last week, there was no water over the weekend for patients to wash, for the toilets or for cleaning purposes,” a spokesperson for the union said.

This was after the Sol Plaatje Municipality suspended pumping via the 975mm pipeline from Riverton in order to fix several leaks on the line.

However, the hospital should still have been supplied with water from the JoJo tanks on the premises.

“This was not the case,” the union stated “and there was no water for the patients or the staff over the weekend.”

“Following meetings with the union in the morning, the department agreed to provide bottled water for drinking purposes and promises were made that the maternity section would have water by Monday night while casualty would have water from today.

“The contractors are on site and are busy here today,” the union stated.

Department of Health spokesperson Lebogang Majaha said that following Manopole’s oversight visit to Galeshewe Day Hospital, additional security personnel were placed to secure areas of concern at the facility, until investigations were concluded. “The service provider is currently on site and water will be restored,” he added.

Complaints of no water meanwhile came from throughout the city, with Bloemanda residents pointing out that they had not had water for between two to four weeks, while complaints were also received from Kenilworth.

In Bloemanda, residents in the formal area of the suburb had to knock on the doors of those living in the nearby informal settlement to ask for water.

Some residents indicated that they had not had water for two weeks, while others put it closer to four weeks.

Municipal spokesperson Sello Matsie said yesterday that due to the design of the system, some residents got water even if the supply was switched off, while others had no water for longer periods.

“It is unfortunate but this is how it works. Hopefully, once the shutdown of water has been suspended, these residents will have water again.”

He added that there were also some areas where the valves had not been properly opened after the weekend’s shutdown.