22 February 2017
Early last night, 21 February, the Directorate of Technical Services at eMalahleni Municipality announced that the power breaks effected by Eskom which is in dispute with the local authority have affected its water pumping system.
In addition, the pipeline between the Witbank Dam and the local purification plant has been ruptured with the Directorate saying in its statement that a restoration of supply from the dam is unlikely before 24 hours. The department added that it expected similar service breakdowns to occur for as long as the Eskom power cuts continued.
This latest situation has made the situation for hospitals and healthcare services in the area even more difficult, coming as they are on the back of electricity cuts that have forced hospitals to rely on generators.
Without water, hospitals are unable to operate their laundries, perform some cleaning duties, and are unable to bathe patients.
The Hospital Association of South Africa (HASA) repeats its call for the authorities to actively and urgently seek ways to resolve the dispute that clearly now may affect healthcare delivery in eMalahleni and the rest of Mpumalanga.
Thus far, private hospitals have maintained services to patients and consumers through their extensive power back-up systems that ensure all services are available. However, the emerging water crisis adds a dimension that demands the authorities take immediate and appropriate action.