JUST IN: Cholera in Vaal River

The water samples that AfriForum and Save Ngwathe took from the Vaal River at Parys on Tuesday tested positive for cholera. An accredited laboratory took water samples at different locations in this town under the supervision of a water specialist.

The first water sample taken at the outlet of the water 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. 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.

It is extremely worrying that 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 where 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.

“The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) 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,” says Lambert de Klerk, Manager of Environmental Affairs at AfriForum.

Karien Viljoen from Save Ngwathe took a video today at the manhole in question where it appears that even blood is flowing out of the manhole. The DWS and the municipality are aware of this manhole overflowing.

AfriForum and Save Ngwathe appeals to residents of all the towns in the Ngwathe Metro to not 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,” says 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. Currently there is no one taking responsibility for this water plant and this puts further pressure on the municipality and causes great concern among members of the community,” concludes Pretorius.

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