09/03/14 00:00

DA probe shows water 'dangerously' polluted

Category: South Africa News
By: Paul Vecchiatto, Political Writer
CAPE TOWN- A four-month investigation by the Demorcratic Aliance has found human sewage has contaminated drinking water to dangerous levels, leading to diarrhoea being among the major causes of death in SA.

Poor water quality and sanitation are among the causes of service protests. Just last week, problems at Makana municipality in Grahamstown saw Rhodes University going for several days without water.

Yesterday, DA healths pokesman Wilmot James released a report on the investigation conducted in  Limpopo, Mpumalanga the North West and the Eastern Cape.

"We initiated this investigation alter news first broke of the outbreak of diarrhoea in Brits in the North West. Since that announcement, 500 people have been treated for diarrhoea in Brits. Eleven children were hospitalised and three toddlers died of diarrhoea." Mr James said.

The North West's Mothutlung township was the site of violent protests in February this year, resulting in the death of four people in dashes with police over the municipality to deliver water to township. The DA found that water in Brits has an E. coli content 320 timesmore than is fit for waste water treatment to be turned into drinking water. In Rietfontein, also in the North West, the E. coli content was 1,000 times more than is fit for waste water treatnent.

ln Thabazimbi, also in Limpopo, a burst sewage pipe has been spilling raw sewage into a water main for the past two years. In Nelson Mandela Bay in the Eastern Cape, four hospitals' water tested positive for E. coli and three different sites across the rnetro tested positive for E. coli in the water.

Mr James said the DA used a number of laboratories to test the water at the various sites. This included the state-owned National Health Laboratory Service. Mr James also said the investigation came after he read in the National Development Plan that diarrhoea was the fifth major cause of death of South Africans.

"No person should be dying frorn something as preventable as diarrhoea," he said.

Depatment of Water Affairs and Sanitation communications dirertor Sputnik Ratau said the issues of basic services were affected by lack of capacity and sometimes by lack of, funding.

TUESDAY 2 September 2014 BusinessDay
Paul Vecchiatto, Political Writer

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