The clinic has been expected to continue functioning normally with no water supply at all, with staff and patients required to bring water for their own consumption while they are at the clinic.
The local Department of Health (DoH) says it is deeply concerned by the situation but says water supply to the clinic does not fall under their responsibilities.
In early November last year the water at the clinic was deemed undrinkable by the National Health Laboratory Services. Water from the clinic was tested and found to be infested with thousands of bacteria. Since then, the water was shut off and the clinic has been operating with dry taps.
“As the department, we are very worried about the lack water at the clinic. But that is not our issue, the local municipality is the one responsible for supplying water to the communities,” said the department’s spokesperson, Derick Kganyago.
‘Bring their own water’
A clinic staff member highlighted that since the water crisis at the institution, they have had to bring their own water from home, and they are constantly concerned about the needs of patients and what will happen if a patient should faint on the premises.
“The situation is very tense, we have to bring our own water from home,” said the staff member.
Deputy secretary of the clinic committee, Mpapa Rakgwale, said clinic officials had confronted numerous authorities with their concerns, from the local to national government as well at the Presidential Helpline without success.
“We have been sent from pillar to post since last year. The Greater Tzaneen Municipality has acknowledged the problem and promised to bring water, while our district assured us they would send tanks. Now the tank is here, but there is still no water,” said Rakgwale.
She added: “We went as far as calling the Presidential Hotline and we received a case number, but since last year nothing is happening.”
On top of water supply issues, the clinic infrastructure is dilapidated.
Kganyago said the Limpopo Health Department would deploy contractors to the clinic to check what short and long-term interventions are needed to rejuvenate the clinic.
An edited version of this story appeared in The Star.