Carolina: United in Crisis
Town's crisis is far from over as citizens are still without clean water
THE Mpumalanga health department says it has been experiencing a low intake of people with diarrhoea in Carolina.
The department has advised residents to follow precautionary measures and not to drink tap water because it is contaminated.
"We had an increase of people with diarrhoea in January and February. But now people have been made aware (that the water is contaminated) and are cautious," health spokesman Dumisani Mlangeni said.
Albert Luthuli municipality spokesman David Nhlabathi could not be reached for comment.
About 17,000 people live in the small town of Carolina. The residents said they were sick of the situation.
"We are forced to bathe in this water. It is not good for me and my son's skin. We have to walk a long distance to get water.
"There are long queues. I spend the whole day waiting for my turn to get water," Patricia Chuma said.
Her neighbour, Martha Mokgola, said she first noticed the water was dirty when she was doing laundry back in January.
"I saw yellow spots on my white clothes," she said. "Then I heard people from the municipality going around and making an announcement that we should not drink the water or use it for cooking.
"But the announcement was rather late because we had been drinking the water for days."
Earlier this month residents took to the streets in protest against the municipality's failure to fix the problem.
Pakistani shops were looted and buildings vandalised. Several people were arrested and some were injured.
Juliet Kunene, 17, a pupil at Zinikeleni High School, said it was difficult to cope without water.
"There are tanks filled with water but I do not drink it because it is not pure," she complained. "We only use the water from the taps to flush toilets. Its unhygienic."
- This series of investigative articles was first published in the printed newspaper on June 1 2012