Home PodcastJulie Alli Cholera outbreak exposes Hammanskraal’s water crisis as death toll rises to 12

Cholera outbreak exposes Hammanskraal’s water crisis as death toll rises to 12

by Luqmaan Rawat
The cholera outbreak has left numerous people in hospital Photo Pexels

Hammanskraal – At least 12 lives have been lost to a cholera outbreak in Hammanskraal. This outbreak serves as a distressing reminder of the long-standing issue that has plagued the region for over 16 years: the inadequate supply of clean and safe water.

The city’s inability to effectively manage the situation has led Bongani Mazibuko, Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) Gauteng Provincial Secretary, to call on the Department of Health for immediate involvement to address this pressing crisis.

“It doesn’t make sense that after all these years of democracy we’re still having places where people need to ration water and have to be given water through water tankers. It’s totally unacceptable … We’ve actually received an update that there’s 12 people that have since passed on and it’s a total of about 100 patients between Jubilee, Josh McCarron and Steve Biko that have been admitted due to the cholera outbreak.”

Efforts are underway to conduct tests and identify the precise source of contamination. The worrying thing for Mazibuko is if the tap water isn’t safe then everyone is at risk of getting cholera and it means the city is now unable to provide safe drinking water for the city.


Adopting preventive measures

In the face of this health crisis, it is crucial for individuals to adhere to strict sanitary practices. Maziubko advised that residents must go back to the health practices during the Covid pandemic. If one feels even remotely ill, they should immediately seek medical help as the sooner cholera is caught, the better.

“You need to sanitise, wash your hands with soap and water and before you can drink the water, boil it for at least a minute and add a bit of salt. Fruits and raw vegetables let’s wash them but not with the water that is from the tap. As they said, the tap water is not clean or it’s not safe for consumption … The public should take care and try to adhere to those recommendations by the Department of Health until the situation is resolved.”

While only Hammansraal is currently impacted, Mazibuko has advised all those living in the Gauteng area to be cautious when it comes to their water. It is better to be safe than sorry. There is no need to take an unnecessary risk. 

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Signs and symptoms of cholera 

Prevention plays a paramount role in combating the spread of cholera. Recognising the key symptoms such as high temperature fever and diarrhoea early on could save your life, stressed Mazibuko. 

“The minute the stools come on a regular basis, they are loose and watery and it is also accompanied with a high temperature, start seeking medical attention. Even as you ingest water or anything it would normally come out as well.”

If one presents with mild symptoms, they can treat themselves at home with rehydrate and move away from the source of the infection. However, it is imperative that one monitors themselves even if they are only showing mild symptoms.


Bongani Mazibuko shared his insights on the potential impact on Johannesburg and crucial preventative measures against cholera spread with Julie Alli. Listen to that discussion here:

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