Johannesburg - The water affairs department should publish overdue water quality reports because people have the right to know, AfriForum said on Wednesday.

“It is important for the department of water and sanitation, the regulator, to be not only objective but also transparent at all times and publish results,” head of environmental affairs Julius Kleynhans said.

“People in South Africa have the right to know the standards of water quality management in their towns.”

He said it was important after the recent water quality issues related to the death of three children in Bloemhof in the North West due to contaminated drinking water.

However, water affairs and sanitation department spokesman Themba Khumalo said the department had nothing to hide.

He said newly appointed minister Nomvula Mokonyane had to familiarise herself with the reports.

“The results were supposed to be released last month but the former minister was shifted to another department. The current minister is new in the department,” he said.

“As soon as she has familiarised herself with the reports, she will release it. AfriForum should just be patient, there is definitely nothing to hide.”

AfriForum on Wednesday said the 2013 Green Drop Report, due for release in July 2013, was outstanding.

The 2013 Blue Drop Progress Report, which was due for release in 2013, the full 2014 Blue Drop Reports, and the Regulatory Performance Monitoring System Reports were all still outstanding.

Since May 25, over 500 cases of diarrhoea have been recorded at health care facilities in Bloemhof, which falls under the Lekwa-Teemane municipality.

Three babies, aged between seven and 13 months, died in Bloemhof during the crisis, with their deaths believed to be as a result of contaminated tap water.

On June 20, residents of Bloemhof in the North West opened a criminal case against former municipal manager Andrew Makuapane.

On May 30, AfriForum took various water samples in and around the Bloemhof area and the results showed that the “catastrophe in Bloemhof” may not be over yet, it said at the time. - Sapa