Updated 04 June 2014

21 babies admitted to hospitals

Contaminated water in Bloemhof kills three babies.


A total of 21 babies from Bloemhof, North West, have been admitted to hospitals for diarrhea since last week, the provincial health department said on Tuesday.

11 babies had been admitted to Bloemhof hospital, while another 10 had been transferred to bigger hospitals in Klerksdorp and Christiana, spokesman Tebogo Lekgethwane said.

This follows over 300 people experiencing diarrhea in the area due to a water contamination that left the town without water last week.

Read: What is in your drinking water?

Between Wednesday and Friday, about 67 people visited hospitals on account of diarrhea.

On Monday, Lekgethwane said three babies had died from diarrhea.

The Lekwa-Teemane municipality shut down its water supply system more than a week ago. The national water affairs department on Friday said the system had been cleaned and sanitized, and water was restored on Thursday evening.

However, residents said the water coming out of taps still had brown in it on Friday, and residents were asked to boil the water first before using it. Water samples were taken for testing, but the outcome is not yet known.

Read: Water horror

Lekgethwane said health education and awareness continued in the area.

"The water has been purified, we believe, but the department of health continues to encourage residents to continue boiling water," he said. "We estimate that for the next two weeks they should continue to boil water. In the meantime we will continue testing waters samples."

On Monday, premier Supra Mahumapelo's office said Lekwa-Teemane municipal manager Andrew Makwapane had been suspended amid the water contamination crisis in Bloemhof.

"The suspension...follows a meeting...established by the premier to look into challenges facing the municipality and visits to families that lost three infants over the weekend," spokesman Lesiba Kgwele said in a statement.

He said a forensic investigation was underway and a preliminary report was expected.

A special meeting of the provincial executive council will be held on Tuesday to discuss the matter. A feedback meeting with the community is to be held on Sunday afternoon after a report is finalized on Friday.

Read more:

Water pollution
Same-day water pollution test on way
Water pollution from floods a threat




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