“It’s a serious problem that there is a shortage of water at a big hospital like this,” said Lucky Mokoena. He said patients had to leave the premises to go to public toilets in a nearby shopping complex.

Toilets in the outpatients department were unflushed and cigarette butts were lying in the sinks. The nursing staff at the outpatients department declined to comment saying they were not allowed to speak to the media. However, they acknowledged that the hospital was facing serious water problems. “Since the hospital is in the community it will also face serious water problems,” said a nurse who asked to remain anonymous.

Not fit for use

Free State Department of Health Spokesperson Mondli Mvambi did not respond to questions about the department’s priority to provide adequate water supply to the hospital.

Meanwhile, shop workers confirmed that their toilets were also not fit to be used. Water problems are giving us challenges and we are forced to close our toilet,” said Anna Mabizela, who works at a fast food outlet in the nearby shopping complex.

QwaQwa residents complain that they have been hard hit by the water crisis, saying they go for days without fresh water, which resulted in health problems. “We get water from water trucks but that is not enough. It’s impossible to flush toilets and maintain proper hygienic conditions,”
said Mathabo Manyingisa, a resident of Makwane village.

Meanwhile a group of women said they had to wake up very early every morning to join a queue to get water. “It’s very difficult for us to wake up, prepare to go to work and take kids to school,” said Mamosa Mokoena. Other residents complained that they were forced to break water pipes to get water.