Durban — African Democratic Change (Adec) leader and eThekwini councillor Visvin Reddy has slated the eThekwini Municipality’s dismissal of concerns around the safety of tap water as fake news.
This was after Reddy told a small group of family and friends that the doctor had told him to avoid drinking water from the tap.
Reddy’s message went viral where he said he had “explosive diarrhoea”, uncontrolled nausea, vomiting and severe stomach cramps.
When he got to the hospital, he said, the doctor told him to avoid drinking tap water.
The doctor also told him that a lot of people had been admitted for gastroenteritis and stomach bugs.
“As a councillor and board member of a water utility, I must be able to trust my product.
“How can I drink bottled water and expect others to drink from the tap? I must be confident of the product delivered by the municipality where I’m a councillor,” he said.
He added that he was in no position to confirm the safety of the water coming from the taps.
The eThekwini Municipality said it was aware of such reports.
City spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said the water was clean and the public must ignore the disinformation promulgated in this regard.
“The public is urged to rely only on information that comes from the City regarding water quality.
“We are therefore appealing to all our residents and stakeholders to desist from sharing these false reports on social media or any other platforms,” said Mayisela.
Umgeni Water, which supplies water to seven municipalities, including our City, has provided assurance that the water it supplies complies fully with the mandatory standards stipulated in the South African National Standards 241 (SANS 241) for drinking water quality.
“The water supplied in bulk from Umgeni Water’s water treatment plant is, therefore, safe for human consumption,” Umgeni Water said in a statement.
“As an example, in the most recent analysis of water quality results from the Durban Heights and Wiggins Water treatment plants – which supply eThekwini Metro with the water it needs for vast parts of the Durban region – it was found that: there were no microbiological failures; chlorine residuals were adequate and within acceptable ranges; there was low turbidity in the final water; and water supplied from these plants complied with the requirements of SANS 241 for drinking water quality,” Umgeni Water added.
Reddy said the City simply dismissed the concerns as “fake news”.
“This is exactly how they responded to the reports of high concentrations of E. coli levels on the beaches,” Reddy said.
A bloc of smaller parties in the eThekwini municipality led by Councillor Zandile Myeni also expressed concern at reports that Durban’s water may be responsible for an outbreak of severe infections in the City.
“One of the members of the bloc, councillor Visvin Reddy, picked up a serious case of gastroenteritis and was rushed to a nearby hospital.
“Staff at the hospital confirmed that there was an outbreak of the disease, and the doctor treating Reddy asked him not to drink water from the tap.
“As a bloc, we demand that the City, through the mayor or city manager, allay fears associated with the quality of tap water in Durban.
“We want independent sample tests to be conducted of water from taps throughout the City. These results must be made available to councillors and the public at large,” said Myeni.