Cholera: More place in the Vaal river and elsewhere test positive


Cholera: More place in the Vaal river and elsewhere test positive
Cholera: More place in the Vaal river and elsewhere test positive. Photo: Pixabay

The civil rights organisation AfriForum has carried out several water tests in the Vaal River and elsewhere in the past month after earlier tests in this river tested positive for cholera.

Water samples were taken from towns along the Vaal River, while a sample was also taken in the river system.

Dozens of people make use of this river’s water daily.

According to the results, the following seven locations tested positive for cholera:

At the Barrage Bridge in the Vaal River.
At Parys in the Vaal River.
In Welkom at Thabong at the start of the Mostert Canal.
In Welkom at a furrow that runs into the Witpan.
At Barkley West in the Vaal River.
At Douglas in the Vaal River before it merges with the Orange River.
At Warrenton in the Vaal River.

AfriForum attempted to take water tests along the Vaal River in most of the towns where there are AfriForum structures, as well as in other areas where the organisation received complaints.

Around 40 laboratory tests were carried out in the immediate vicinity of the Vaal River.

Furthermore, indicator tests were also carried out in several other towns’ drinking water to confirm whether the water is safe for human consumption. These indicator tests were carried out after AfriForum received several requests from communities concerned about the quality of their drinking water.

However, it is worrying that the results also indicate that E.coli is present in the majority of the water samples taken in the river system.

“The focus of these tests was twofold. Firstly, we wanted to confirm whether the drinking water of the towns located along the Vaal River is safe for human consumption and secondly, we had to determine whether there is cholera in the river,” says Lambert de Klerk, manager of Environmental Affairs at AfriForum.

The results are even more worrying because so many people in South Africa use water from the Vaal River daily and therefore it needs to be better monitored.

“The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) will have to actively intervene and AfriForum is prepared to help. When looking at the interim reports issued by the DWS, it is clear that the directives issued are not being obeyed. It seems that the DWS is more bark than bite and it is time for them to start biting again,” adds De Klerk.

“However, there is one issue in terms of the results that does not make sense. Cholera was not picked up at one point in the river, but further downstream the water did test positive for cholera. AfriForum is currently talking to experts about this to determine the reason for this,” concludes De Klerk.

AfriForum appeals to persons who suspect their water is not suitable for human consumption, to follow the necessary safety measures such as boiling water before using it.

Read: The ANC can literally not wash its hands of the cholera outbreak in Musina

Read: ‘Defective sewage systems contributing to cholera outbreaks in Gauteng and the Free State’

Read the original article in Afrikaans on AfriForum