Home communicable disease Water samples taken from Vaal River test positive for cholera – AfriForum

Water samples taken from Vaal River test positive for cholera – AfriForum

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This comes as the country’s cholera death toll climbs to 22; 21 cases in Gauteng and one in the Free State.

An image of sewage flowing from a manhole near the Vaal River.
Raw sewage flows from a manhole near the Vaal River. Picture: AfriForum

AFRIKANER lobby group AfriForum says water samples taken from the Vaal River at Parys have tested positive for cholera bacteria.

“An accredited laboratory took water samples at different locations in this town under the supervision of a water specialist,” the group’s Lambert de Klerk said.

This comes in the wake of a cholera outbreak in Gauteng, the Free State and Limpopo which has since claimed the lives of 22 people – 21 in Gauteng and one person, a woman, in the Free State.

De Klerk said the two samples taken from an outlet of the sewage works and a home in Parys both tested negative for cholera but contained traces of E coli.

“The third water sample was taken in the Vaal River, approximately 10 meters downstream from a manhole that has been pouring sewage into the river for some time. It is this very water sample that is contaminated with cholera and E coli.

AfriForum is still waiting for the official results, but the laboratory has already notified the organisation of the results due to the seriousness of the matter,” he said.

AfriForum said it was particularly concerned that the withdrawal point for Vredefort’s water is only 1km from the sewage spill. It is in Vredefort where there are also confirmed cases of cholera and where a resident died from the illness.

The group added that this information proved that the Vaal River was infected with cholera bacteria.

“There are several places where the raw sewage flows into the river due to infrastructure that is burnt out or is simply not available, load shedding and the fact that there is no emergency assistance such as generators or emergency pumps. The Department of Water and Sanitation must actively intervene and AfriForum is prepared to help. We told them that we are prepared to help but unfortunately have not received any feedback,” de Klerk said.

An image of raw sewage flowing in the direction of the Vaal River.
Raw sewage flows in the direction of the Vaal River. Picture: AfriForum

The Department of Health’s director-general, Dr Sandile Buthelezi, said water samples were taken and results were still pending. Feedback would be provided as soon as the results were received.

Buthelezi informed the portfolio committee on health that the Department of Water Affairs and Sanitation and the Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality would compare water quality test results to identify affected sources.

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