Lesedi Clinic in Lephapane, outside Tzaneen in the Mopani District of Limpopo has gone without water for four months after the water supply was found to be infested with bacteria.
The water has been switched off altogether, and the clinic has been expected to continue functioning normally with no water supply at all, with staff and patients required to bring water for
their own consumption while they are at the clinic.
The Lephapane community generally suffers from water quality issues and the clinic decided to opt for its own water supply, but this has proven ill-fated.
The local Department of Health (DoH) says it is deeply concerned by the situation, but says water supply to the clinic does not fall under its responsibilities.
In early November last year, the water at the clinic was deemed undrinkable by the National Health Laboratory Services. Water from the clinic was tested and found to be infested with thousands of bacteria. Since then, the water has been shut off and the clinic has been operating with dry taps.
“As the department, we are very worried about the lack water at the clinic. But that is not our issue, the local municipality is the one responsible for supplying water to the communities,” said the department’s spokesperson, Derick Kganyago.
A clinic staff member said that since the water crisis at the public health institution, they have had to bring their own water from home, and were constantly concerned about the needs of patients and what would happen if a patient should faint on the premises.
“The situation is very tense, we have to bring our own water from home,” said the staff member.
Deputy secretary of the clinic committee, Mpapa Rakgwale, said clinic officials had confronted numerous authorities with their concerns, from local to national government, as well at the
Presidential Helpline without success.
“We have been sent from pillar to post since last year. The Greater Tzaneen Municipality has acknowledged the problem and promised to bring water, while our district assured us they would
send tanks. Now the tank is here, but there is still no water,” said Rakgwale.
She added: “We went as far as calling the Presidential Hotline and we received a case number, but since last year nothing is happening.”
On top of water supply issues, the clinic infrastructure is dilapidated.
Kganyago said the Limpopo Health Department would deploy contractors to the clinic to check what short and long term interventions were needed to rejuvenate the clinic.