Health dept worried as water cuts continue

Water supply to the Helen Joseph and Rahima Moosa hospitals were once again disrupted today.

FILE: Without water at government hospitals, non emergency surgeries have been postponed and dialyses patients are not able to receive treatment. Picture: Free Images.

JOHANNESBURG - The national Health Department has raised concerns about water cuts in Gauteng and says it will conduct an audit of all its facilities across the country to determine how the shortages are affecting patients.

Supply at the Helen Joseph and Rahima Moosa hospitals has once again been disrupted today and water tankers have been dispatched to provide relief and ensure ablution facilities are functional.

Earlier today, Rand Water also announced that three of its tankers were stolen in Westdene, Crown Gardens and South Hill this week.

While Gauteng's Health MEC has apologised to patients in need of dialyses treatment for yet another day of water cuts, national spokesperson Joe Maila says they're concerned.

"We are worried the water cuts are affecting our facilities, although we aren't necessarily in big trouble at this stage we are still concerned."

Maila says the department has 4,000 facilities across the country and will assess the impact of the water shortages on each hospital.

"Just to understand which ones have reached a critical level and to see what can be done."

Without water at government hospitals, non emergency surgeries have been postponed and dialyses patients are not able to receive treatment.


At the same time, the effects of the current water shortages are now posing a serious threat to businesses that primarily rely on the resource to operate.

In Newlands, a laundromat owner has told Eyewitness News he's had to outsource his orders due to water cuts and says his employees jobs will soon be on the line.

While farmers have received emergency aid from government due to the adverse effects of the drought and disrupted water supply, small businesses across the city say they don't receive the same help.

Mark Kaplan owns a laundry store in Newlands and today his staff are ironing next to two buckets of water collected for emergencies as their supply has been cut since six o clock this morning.

He says since the water cuts started he has had to pay extra to ensure he doesn't lose clients.

"We have to send our laundry out and outsource which is obviously a cost factor and we don't know how long this will go on."

Kaplan employs three people in his small store on Main Road and says their jobs are possibly at risk.

"There are consequences for them if the business were to close and for myself of course."

The business owner says he can't use grey water for his business and has appealed to the city to issue an advanced warning before his supply is cut.

WATCH: Taps run dry in some JHB suburbs.

Meanwhile, Johannesburg Mayor Parks Tau says the city is looking at interventions to help businesses affected by current water shortages.

Tau says central-western Johannesburg is a priority area as it houses a large number of the city's clinics and hospitals.

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Pravin Gordhan has called on Tau and his municipality to visit affected businesses and asses how they can be helped.

The mayor says individual assessments will have to be conducted.

"There are businesses we need to go to and we might need to in the short term provide alternative supply system so they can continue with their work."