Limpopo health facilities without water

The entire Vhembe District in Limpopo, including five hospitals and several clinics have been without water since Monday. Protesting residents have shut down the pumping of the water supply at Nandoni Dam, the main water source.

Neil Shikwambana, Limpopo Department of Health spokesperson told Health-e News that the latest reports indicate that there is no solution yet to the water shortages within their facilities in Vhembe.

The affected hospitals are Tshilidzini, Donald Fraser, Louis Trichardt Memorial, Malamulele and Hayani Psychiatric hospital. “They have also closed the Nandoni Dam, which is the main water source, and as a result, delivering water through water tankers to the hospitals will not be possible,” says Shikwambana.

The department is concerned that the closure of the dam coincides with the scourge of cholera that is currently confronting other provinces. Limpopo has recorded 13 cases, while 22 people have died in the country thus far.

“The department is working with all stakeholders to try and prevent the disease, but community-induced water shortages will compromise the efforts,”

Patients negatively affected.

At Tshilidzini hospital, some toilets are blocked up, covered in faeces. An outpatient, Patrick Munyai, says the hospital should have placed buckets of water inside the ablution blocks.

“I feel that, though they are having challenges in terms of having running water, they should have at least made some effort to put some buckets of water, so that we can use them to flush.”

A heavily pregnant 24-year-old Zimbabwean national, Mavis Moyo* told Health-e News, she is worried about the lack of hygiene due to the shortage of water at the hospital. She says there is not enough water to bathe.

“If you do not wake up early to bathe, you will go the entire day without bathing, because there is limited water since Tuesday. I came here on Sunday and everything was fine but on Tuesday morning everything changed and we were told that there is no water,” says Moyo*. “I am scared of contracting infections, because everything here is just a mess now.”

A nurse stationed at Tshilidzini hospital, who wished to remain anonymous, says that the hospital is currently relying on limited water being pumped by boreholes at the facility. But she says this is not enough to run an entire hospital, and the shortage is negatively affecting the day to day operations.

No end in sight for water woes

Vhembe District Municipality spokesperson Matodzi Ralushai says that they are currently negotiating with communities who have shut down and damaged water infrastructure at Nandoni Dam and at the Vondo Water Treatment Scheme

“Villagers from Mutoti, Dumasi, and Budeli have gained access and damaged water infrastructure, saying that they want their shortage of running water supply woes to be addressed. This is something which we have been working hard to address over the recent years. But our appeal to them is that violence is not the answer as we are aware of their challenges and we are working towards addressing them,” says Ralushai.

He says that in a separate incident villagers from Duthuni and Tshisaulu also vandalised water infrastructure at Vondo Water Treatment Scheme, resulting in a shortage of water in most parts of the district.

“We are working around the clock to ensure that all these disagreements and misunderstandings are addressed so that we can have running water supply restored as the entire district is currently without running water.-Health-e News.

*Name has been changed.


  • Ndivhuwo Mukwevho

    Ndivhuwo Mukwevho is citizen journalist who is based in the Vhembe District of Limpopo province. He joined OurHealth in 2015 and his interests lie in investigative journalism and reporting the untold stories of disadvantaged rural communities. Ndivhuwo holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Media Studies from the University of Venda and he is currently a registered student with UNISA.

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