Hannah Omarjee | firstname.lastname@example.org
7 June 2023 | 17:00 CAT
2 min read
There is concern that the country faces a Cholera crisis as the number of people who have been affected continues to increase. Cholera has already claimed the lives of 24 people in Gauteng, with cases reported in several provinces. In conversation with Radio Islam International, Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism’s Zano Kunene, elaborated on the issue.
According to Kunene, the outbreak’s source has not yet been identified. Although some speculate that tap water may be the cause, Rand Water and the Municipality have conducted tests on their water sources and have reported no positive results for the bacteria.
South Africa obtains tap water from rivers, typically contaminated with bacteria, but the water goes through a disinfection process involving chlorine. Kunene explained that the water undergoes three rounds of disinfection, ensuring it is safe to drink when it comes out of the taps.
The Department of Water and Sanitation conducts an audit called the ‘Blue Drop’ report, which assesses the country’s water treatment plants. According to Kunene, last year’s report revealed that only 40% of the plants met the ‘microbiological compliance’ standard, indicating that 60% do not remove harmful bacteria and germs from the water. Despite this, no other water-borne diseases or bacterial infections have affected people, suggesting that the water treatment processes function reasonably well. South Africa also releases a ‘Green Drop’ report that audits the country’s wastewater treatment facilities. Last year’s ‘Green Drop’ report revealed that approximately 75% of the plants are in a critical state, indicating that they are not operating effectively and could impact water cleaning.
Kunene believes that the effectiveness of water treatment plants varies from province to province. In Gauteng, approximately 90% of the plants meet microbiological compliance, while some plants in areas outside South Africa’s metros are failing. The ‘Green Drop’ and ‘Blue Drop’ reports highlight issues at individual treatment plants.
Listen to the full interview on The Daily Round Up with Junaid Kharsany here