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Cholera outbreak fears in Polokwane

Johannesburg - The DA has warned of the potential for a cholera outbreak in Polokwane. The party said it had a report by Capricorn Veterinary Laboratories warning of the imminent danger.

DA councillor Frank Haas has alleged that contaminated water from the city’s purification plant overflows into the Sand River.

He said the purification plant contained wastewater, adding that test results had indicated that contamination levels were excessively high.

“Faecal Coliform and E. coli levels are described as ‘well over the limits and dangerous’, with a count of over 200 000, while the Department of Water Affairs’ specification is a limit of 1 000,” said Haas.

Faecal Coliform and E. coli bacteria are known to cause waterborne illnesses.

“The possibility of a cholera outbreak under these circumstances is considered to be high… We engaged with the municipality and they have taken this issue very seriously. “But the point is, it should not have [arrived] at that stage,” said Haas.

Capricorn Veterinary Laboratories director Milan Andrin confirmed his company had conducted the tests.

Municipal spokesman Simon Mokwatedi denied claims of a possible cholera outbreak. “No relevant tests were conducted to confirm the vibrio cholera that is alleged, but only an analysis of indicative organisms was conducted,” he said.

“The municipality is aware of the high E. coli levels on the sewage discharge point caused by the refurbishment of the maturation ponds,” he said. This had nothing to do with drinking water.

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