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Class action threat after cholera deaths

The government is facing a possible class action lawsuit for negligence relating to the cholera outbreak from contaminated water in Hammanskraal, and which has led to the deaths of 23 people so far.

Advocate Moafrika Wa Maila told the Cape Argus he would be instituting the suit on behalf of those who had died, those admitted to hospital, and other affected residents.

Since 15 May, dozens of people in the township have been admitted to Jubilee District Hospital with diarrhoeal disease or gastrointestinal infections linked to the contaminated water.

Yesterday, the North West Provincie registered its first case of cholera, News24 reports.

To date, cholera has claimed 23 lives in Hammanskraal in Gauteng, one in the Free State and another in Mpumalanga.

On Wednesday, Health MEC Madoda Sambatha said a 50-year-old man from Maubane in the Moretele district went to Maubane Clinic suffering from diarrhoea, vomiting, leg cramps and dehydration.

Sambatha said: "He tested for Cholera at Jubilee Hospital, and the results came back positive."

One basis for the lawsuit would be previous findings on the Hammanskraal water situation, including the 2021 report compiled by the South African Human Rights Commission after its public inquiry into the quality of the water, said Maila.

This week the City of Tshwane approved a R450m allocation for partial rehabilitation of the Rooiwal wastewater treatment plant, identified as the source of the problem for Hammanskraal.

The estimated cost of a full rehabilitation and upgrade would be about R4bn.

Meanwhile, WaterCAN, an initiative of the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa), which had commissioned independent laboratory tests on water from four taps in Hammanskraal, said the findings showed water from three of four taps “was not safe to drink”, but no traces of cholera.

WaterCAN’s executive manager, Dr Ferrial Adam, said: “The water may be free of E. coli and free of cholera, but there is still a very high number of other bacteria in the water… indicating either inadequate treatment before it goes into the pipes, or water is secondarily polluted after it leaves the treatment facility. Either way, it remains unsafe for consumption.”


Cape Argus PressReader article – Hammanskraal cholera outbreak: class action suit (Open access)

News24 North West records first case of cholera

See more from MedicalBrief archives:


Field hospitals set up as cholera cases spread and deaths climb


Unsafe national water supply sparks fears of larger cholera spread


Warning of possibly more cholera cases




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