City making ‘every effort’ to establish source of cholera as numbers rise

Tshwane mayor Cilliers Brink. | Jacques Naude African News Agency (ANA)

Tshwane mayor Cilliers Brink. | Jacques Naude African News Agency (ANA)

Published May 31, 2023


Johannesburg - Tshwane mayor Cilliers Brink has maintained that the City of Tshwane municipality is still making every effort to establish the source of the cholera outbreak in Hammanskraal.

Brink said the municipality was aware that the situation in Hammanskraal had coincided with a major breach of trust between the government and the people, which was part of the reason why they were trying everything to mend that trust.

He said the leadership of the city had to start by finding the source of the cholera outbreak, which had resulted in numerous deaths.

“While we have said Hammanskraal water is a serious problem and has been for many years, we have not detected the source of the cholera, and it’s important to make that point.

“If we say it is the Rooiwal Wastewater Treatment Plant, although tests are negative, and stop looking at other potential sources, we might be mismanaging the situation and depriving ourselves of finding out where it comes from and acting effectively to address it.”

Brink said, in recent days, there had been many discussions about the wastewater treatment plant and how to upgrade it, where the money comes from, and the municipality’s lack of resources and attempts to augment those resources by getting money from outside to upgrade it.

“We know that unless and until the plant is upgraded, Hammanskraal will not have suitable water. The issue of cholera is distinct from Hammanskraal until we make that connection, and we thought to dedicate a team to inform the public of efforts to co-ordinate efforts.”

In the interim, Brink said the city continued to provide safe drinking water to residents for free via its verified water tanker suppliers and that these tanker suppliers were not to sell water to residents.

“There are always people who will attempt to exploit emergencies for their own benefit, and what we have done, in addition to issuing this public warning, is to deploy Tshwane metro police officials to monitor the situation.

“We also have emergency services on the ground, and we have set up a line where folks can report any of these instances so that we can investigate, as it is essential that if someone sees this, they take a photo of the number plate because that is the only way we can trace who is doing that.”

Divisional chief of Emergency Services Dr Tanja Terblanche, responsible for co-ordinating the disaster centre set up by the city to manage the outbreak, said that according to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, there have been 114 confirmed cholera cases in Gauteng and in the Free State.

Terblanche said there had been a total of 23 deaths as of Monday in Gauteng and 21 in the Free State.

She added that in the last 24 hours, the centre had received reports of 23 infections of cholera, but on a more positive note, no deaths have been reported yet.

The Star