Pretoria - Anxiety and desperation were written all over the face of patient Abraham Mokoto at Jubilee Hospital yesterday as he explained that he had not taken a bath for four days.
He said he and many patients had been forced to buy water from a local shopping centre just to quench their thirst.
Those who could not afford to buy bottled water begged to take sips from patients who shared wards with them.
The health facility experienced severe water outages after the City of Tshwane stopped operations at Temba Water Treatment Plant after the power station had been hit by lightning.
The station generated power to Rooiwal Waste Water Treatment Plant for cleaning water before its distribution to Hammanskraal residents.
Water was restored to the area on Wednesday, but the City of Tshwane warned that it was not drinkable.
Mokoto, who was admitted on Monday with diarrhoea, said although water was restored to the facility he was scared to consume it.
“I can’t take this water from hospital taps because I have diarrhoea. Taking it will only make my health situation worse.”
Mokoto expressed hopelessness about the prevailing situation at the centre, saying some wards were stinking and weren't properly cleaned due to water scarcity.
“I feel so bad about the situation here. This is like a prison. It is better at home than being in this type of condition,” he said.
There were water tankers provided by the City to the hospital, but patients said it was not enough for flushing toilets and bathing.
Johanna Baloyi attested to a sense of desperation shared by many patients, saying she was forced to take a bath using a basic container and water that could barely fill a mug.
“It is very bad.
“I had to ask my relatives to bring me water in bottles. Again that water does not last because I have to share it with other patients who don’t have,” she said.
Baloyi, who was admitted on Saturday, said she was deeply worried about hygiene at the hospital.
She said water from the tankers was mainly used for cooking.
“Some patients are using mobile toilets, which were delivered here on Tuesday night, because there is not enough water to use in flushing toilets.”
Ephraim Sechabela, who sustained serious injuries on his left arm at work, was saddened that his appointment for an operation was rescheduled yesterday until further notice.
Doctors told him that it was going to be risky for him to undergo the operation without water.
Other patients complained about the poor quality of water from the tankers, but Sechabela said he was happy to consume it.
In a media statement, the Gauteng Health Department said other patients were transferred to Odi hospital for emergency operations “with additional help provided by sister hospitals in the Tshwane District".
However, one patient, who refused to be named, said trips to Odi had been fruitless to many patients who were told on arrival that the hospital had no extra beds to accommodate them.