Civil Rights group Afriforum says the deadly water-borne Cholera bacteria has been detected in the Vaal River.
AfriForum and the Save Ngwathe organisation said water samples from the Vaal River at Parys on Tuesday tested positive for cholera.
Private testing for Cholera
“An accredited laboratory took water samples at different locations in this town under the supervision of a water specialist,” said AfriForum’s Environmental Affairs Manager Lambert de Klerk.
“The first water sample taken at the outlet of the sewage works was not contaminated with cholera. The second water sample taken from a residential house in Parys tested negative for cholera but was infected with E. coli,” explained de Klerk.
A third water sample was taken in the Vaal River, approximately 10 meters downstream from a manhole 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,” said De Klerk.
ALSO READ: Ekurhuleni on high alert as cholera cases rise nationally
Afrifourm said the withdrawal point for Vredefort’s water is only 1 km from the sewage spill.
“It is precisely in Vredefort where there are also confirmed cases of cholera and a resident died from this virus.”
“This information further proves that the Vaal River is indeed infected with cholera. There are several places where the raw sewage flows into the river due to infrastructure that is burnt out or is simply not available, loadshedding and the fact that there is no emergency assistance such as generators or emergency pumps.”
It’s calling on the the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) to intervene while also offering to help.
“We told them we are prepared to help but unfortunately have not received any feedback,” said de Klerk.
Karien Viljoen from Save Ngwathe took a video on Thursday at the manhole in question, where it appears that even blood is flowing out of the manhole. The DWS and the municipality are allegedly aware of this manhole overflowing.
ALSO READ: Cholera outbreak: Gauteng death toll rises to 20
Watch: Bloody waters flow into the Vaal River
AfriForum and Save Ngwathe have appealed to residents of all the towns in the Ngwathe Metro not to drink tap water before it has been boiled.
“I sincerely hope that the authorities and especially the DWS realise the vital importance of this problem and intervene at the incompetent municipality. The help that AfriForum has been offering for the last two years has been ignored time and again, and now innocent people are paying for it with their lives,” said Alta Pretorius, AfriForum’s District Coordinator for the Mooi River.
“It also came to our attention this week that the council suspended the technical manager who had to look after the water plant pending an investigation.
“There is no one taking responsibility for this water plant, and this puts further pressure on the municipality and causes great concern among community members,” concluded Pretorius.
*The Citizen has contacted the Department of Water and Sanitation and will update the story when we receive feedback.
NOW READ: Hammanskraal water not cholera contaminated, but not safe to drink