As the Cholera death toll in Hammanskraal rises, bereaved families are now desperately seeking assistance to bury their loved ones. Many say they were expecting the government to step in.
The number of laboratory-confirmed cases of Cholera is standing at 29. The health department says the number of patients that have been treated at the Jubilee District Hospital in Hammanskraal since Wednesday afternoon is sitting at 179 and this includes 18 patients who have been transferred to Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital and Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Tshwane.
The Ndlovu family in Majaneng in Hammanskraal has been struck by a double tragedy. They lost two of their children to the disease. Their seven and nine-year-old children passed on three days apart last week.
The mother of the children, Sichelesile Ncube says her first born daughter was certified dead on Wednesday at the Jubilee Hospital. Her second child followed on Saturday.
“The second one started on Friday. He was playing. Around midday, I was woken up and told he was not fine. Moments later he was dead. We went to find out what the problem is, the postmortem confirmed it is Cholera.”
The bodies of the children have been at the mortuary after a post-mortem confirmed they suffered a gastro-intestinal infection. They have been struggling to raise funds to bury the siblings.
“There’s nothing I can say. I’m in pain. Things happened so fast, it’s a mess. The pain in my heart is unbearable. I just want to bury my children in peace. No one has come since their passing.”
Their 60-year-old neighbour, Alfred Mudau also suffered the same fate on Saturday. His sister, Leah Skosana says the infection was rapid and fatal.
“It just happened so fast. He had diarrhoea and was vomiting, maybe the water affected him.”
MMC for Utility Services in the city of Tshwane Abel Tau explains the Cholera outbreak in Hammanskraal:
The impact on survivors is also huge. “I’m a social worker at People against abuse in Winterveldt. I don’t know who’s going to take me seriously. At NGOs when you don’t come to work, they look for other people. It means I will lose my job. Shortage of electricity will also lead to trouble with this Cholera thing,” says Rose Masombuk.
Another survivor Aubrey Masombuka says,” We are appealing to the government to exempt us from load shedding. We need to boil water.”
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in Tshwane has laid a murder charge against the City of Tshwane Executive Mayor, Cilliers Brink and City Manager, Johan Mettler for the deaths.
The City says there were no remnants of cholera detected in its bulk water suppliers and its Themba Water Treatment plant. Results from water tankers are yet to be released. The source of the outbreak also remains unknown.
EFF chairperson in Tshwane, Obakeng Ramabodu says the accounting officers, Brink and Mettler should account for the deaths.
“They are the ones who are entrusted by the law to give the people of Tshwane water. We may deal with that kind of investigation, but the source is the City of Tshwane, there is no other source.”
The City of Tshwane has not responded to whether it will be offering financial support to the bereaved families. The Gauteng Department of Health says it only deals with health-related responses. Social Development is yet to comment.
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