Special team to fast-track water investigation after deaths

By Gabi Khumalo

Mthatha - The Department of Water and Environmental Affairs has set up a special team to fast-track the investigation into the cause of death of eight people from the Mpeko village in the Eastern Cape, following reports of contaminated water.

According to the community, the eight people allegedly died after eating meals prepared with contaminated water.

Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs Buyelwa Sonjica visited the OR Tambo District on Tuesday to get a first hand account of the situation.

"Initial results are not conclusive that the deaths are related to water borne diseases; that is why we have decided to continue with the investigation and set up a special team," the minister said.

Minister Sonjica further said autopsies would be performed on the victims.

During the visit, the minister held a meeting with provincial MEC for Health Phumullo Masualle, Executive Mayor of the OR Tambo District Municipality Zoleka Capa, councillors as well as officials from the Department of Water, Health, district and local municipalities.

The meeting highlighted the challenges confronting the district municipality on issues of water delivery and longer term plans that needed collective input and responsibility to ensure delivery of basic services.

The minister said the department would deploy other resources to promote health and hygiene and pay closer attention to disinfection of water meant for domestic consumption.

The department would also put more effort into the monitoring processes in the area to ensure that a recurrence did not happen, Minister Sonjica said. - BuaNews