Article courtesy of Vusi Twala | March 12, 2014 | SABC News | Shared as educational material
The Chief Albert Luthuli Local Municipality in Carolina in Mpumalanga has called on residents to use tap water provided by the municipality.
This comes after Lawyers for Human Rights indicated that water tests, conducted on borehole water in Carolina, have revealed that the water is contaminated with high level of nitrates in the town, and faecal coliform bacteria in neighbouring Selobela Township.
According to Emma Algotsson of Lawyers for Human Rights, some residents of Carolina, Caro Park and Selobela Township alleged that water in that area was making them sick.
Algotsson says the allegations made by some residents prompted them to conduct tests on some of the 30 boreholes that were installed by the Albert Luthuli Local Municipality during the water crisis in the area two years ago when water was contaminated by an old mine’s acid water.
Carolina is a water scarce area with shallow water tables. Algotsson says their findings have pointed out that sewage spills could have contaminated ground water in Carolina.
“Our client is still complaining about being ill from the water. It’s unclear what water are they getting ill from? Is it the water from town the municipal or is it from the borehole? And the tests that we did last week on the borehole water show that there was contamination and our experts think it might be contaminated from old frame strain or from a leaking sewage.”
Residents of Carolina have expressed conflicting views about the quality of water in the area. While some say they find the water suitable for human consumption, others allege that the water is dirty and has a strange colour.
The Human Rights Commission has just revealed that people residing in rural and poor communities in this country, still do not have access to clean drinking water.
However, the Chief Albert Luthuli Local Municipality says it is not aware of the findings of the tests conducted on borehole water by Lawyers for Human Rights.
The spokesperson for the municipality, David Nhlabathi, says the municipality is providing clean tap water. “We don’t have any water crisis. The only thing that we might say is that let those human rights lawyers forward whatever information they have to us, so that even we are in a position to conduct our own investigation with regard to water problem; if they have found any problem with our water.”
Lawyers for Human Rights say they have already alerted the authorities about the borehole water contamination problem in Carolina.