Minister Buyelwa Sonjica expresses condolences and undertakes to leave no stone unturned in the investigation of alleged polluted water

8 June 2009

The Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Ms Buyelwa Sonjica, expressed her sincere condolences to the families of people who died at Mpheko Village near Mthatha under the OR Tambo Municipal area. Allegedly, 8 people have died so far from incidents of diarrhoea and vomiting.

The Minister noted media reports citing the cause of deaths to be contaminated water sources. The department is conducting a full investigation and has already collected water samples from the traditional water sources in the area namely Mpheko River and Phantsi Kwentaba Spring. The results are expected to be released on Wednesday 10 June 2009.

Departmental officials have been dispatched to the area and are working very closely with the villagers.

The Department of Water and Environmental Affairs will coordinate its efforts closely with the Provincial Department of Health and the OR Tambo District Municipality as the Water Service Authority in the area, including strengthening of monitoring processes, to prevent any further related incidents.

The department will also deploy other resources to promote health and hygiene and put closer attention to disinfection of water meant for domestic consumption. The department will also put more effort into the monitoring processes in the area to ensure that a recurrence does not happen.