Water samples taken in the Vaal River at Parys tested positive for cholera.
AfriForum and Save Ngwathe requested an accredited laboratory to take water samples at different locations in Paris under the supervision of a water specialist.
The first water sample taken at the outlet of the sewage works was not contaminated with cholera. The second water sample taken from a residence in Paris tested negative for cholera, but was infected with E. coli. The third water sample was taken in the Vaal River, approximately 10 m downstream from a manhole that has been dumping sewage into the river for some time. It is this very water sample that is contaminated with cholera and E. coli.
AfriForum is still waiting for the official results, but the laboratory has already notified the organization of the results due to the seriousness of the matter.
“It is extremely worrying that the withdrawal point for Vredefort’s water is only 1 km from the sewage spill,” says Lambert de Klerk, manager of environmental affairs at AfriForum. “It is precisely in Vredefort where there are also confirmed cases of cholera and where a resident died of this disease.
“This information further proves that the Vaal River is indeed infected with cholera. There are several places where the raw sewage flows into the river due to infrastructure that has burned out or is not available at all, load shedding and the issue that there is no emergency assistance such as generators or emergency pumps.”
The Department of Water and Sanitation will have to actively intervene and according to AfriForum, it is prepared to help. “We have also already mentioned to them that we are willing to help, but unfortunately have not received any feedback,” says De Klerk.
Karien Viljoen from Save Ngwathe brought up a video at the manhole where it appears that there is even blood coming out of the manhole. The department and the municipality are aware of this overflowing manhole.
AfriForum and Save Ngwathe appeal to residents of all the towns in the Ngwathe metro not to drink tap water before it has been boiled. “I hope that the authorities and especially the DWS realize the vital importance of this problem and will intervene with the incompetent municipality. The help that AfriForum has been offering for the past two years is being ignored time and time again and now innocent people are paying for it with their lives,” says Alta Pretorius, AfriForum’s district coordinator for the Mooi River.
“It also came to our attention this week that the council suspended the technical manager who was supposed to look after the water plant pending an investigation. There is no one who is now taking responsibility for this water plant and this puts further pressure on the municipality and causes great concern among members of the community,” said Pretorius.
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