Health minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi assured that hospitals and clinics in drought-stricken Western Cape would not be affected should Day Zero arrive. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/ANA

Cape Town - National health minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi on Wednesday assured Parliament’s portfolio committee on health that hospitals and clinics in the drought-stricken Western Cape would not be affected should Day Zero, when taps run dry, arrive.

The committee was also briefed by Motsoaledi on the national department of health’s strategies in addressing the listeriosis outbreak, whilst the Western Cape provincial department of health briefed the committee on its readiness for Day Zero.

Motsoaledi told the committee that he had received assurances from the minister of water and sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane that hospitals and clinics will not be affected by Day Zero in the Western Cape.

On the listeriosis outbreak, Motsoaledi said South Africa has been dealing with listeriosis for the past 41 years and that about 60 to 80 cases were detected and treated annually.

“The difference this time around is that listeriosis is behaving unusually and spreading rapidly, which it has not done before. This is why it is classified as notifiable,” said the minister.

From January 2017 to November 2017, a total of 557 laboratory-confirmed cases were reported in all nine provinces. However, most cases were reported in Gauteng (62%), Western Cape (13%) and KwaZulu-Natal (7%).

Responding to the presentation, the committee said the department must work jointly with local government on a campaign to educate communities about the disease so that people take precautionary measures.

Chairperson for the committee Lindelwa Dunjwa said: “We must ensure that in our constituencies we empower people, as Members of Parliament, through radio programmes about the disease. It is not only the responsibility of government to educate communities.”

African News Agency/ANA