The water in Cradock is safe to drink and there is no crisis. That is the word from the Chris Hani District Municipality, despite several complaints by residents of the small town in the Eastern Cape.

The DA said that thirteen people, including two four-year-olds, were treated at Cradock hospital over the weekend for gastroenteritis due to suspected water contamination.

Taking all precautions

However, Chris Hani District Municipality Communications Manager Thobeka Mqamelo told Health24 that the gastro cases are not linked to drinking contaminated water.

“The hospital Superintendent Dr Ratyana refuted the claims of people hospitalised as a result of gastro infection linked with water contamination.”

Mqamelo said the municipality is closely monitoring the water situation in the area and taking all precautions to ensure the quality of water service.

“Water in the area is tested timeously and at this point in time no results have indicated that water is unfit for human consumption.”

DA MPL Kobus Botha told Health24 that the municipality has been struggling for years to deliver quality and safe water.

Foreign objects dumped into system

‘The quality of the water is compromised and unpalatable. The colour represents the presence of green algae and it smells.”

Botha added that the Cradock waste water treatment plant is operating at less than 50% of its full capacity, with frequent raw sewage spills into the Great Fish River.

Mqamelo conceded there has been occasional sewage spills into the Fish River, but said the municipality is working on resolving it.

“This is caused mainly by foreign objects that are dumped in the system and a single pump that constantly malfunctions – awareness campaigns are ensuring to warn people against random dumping as this has dire consequences, importantly a new pump has been sourced to ensure optimal functioning of the system,” she said.

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Health24 (Adiel Ismail)