Tap water is safe to drink, says Gauteng health department

But public urged to be extra cautious amid cholera outbreak

The Gauteng department of water says tap water remains safe to drink. Stock photo.
The Gauteng department of water says tap water remains safe to drink. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/Maridav

The Gauteng department of health on Tuesday said tap water remains safe for drinking.

The department’s message follows a viral audio clip making rounds on social media, discouraging people from drinking tap water, alleging it is contaminated and may cause cholera. 

Department spokesperson Motalatale Modiba said the audio clip was misleading and there is no truth to it.  

“That information is far from the truth. The information shared by these unknown sources has no scientific evidence nor is it an official communication of any government entity. We want to to assure the public that tap water remains safe for drinking,” Modiba said. 

He said the department urges people to continue practising proper hand hygiene and also not drink water from contaminated sources. “This would be people that drink water from unclean environmental sources such as rivers, streams, boreholes, dams and those that don’t have adequate sanitation.

“We advise the public to be extra cautious, given that cholera is mainly transmitted through contaminated water but also when people handle food without following proper hand hygiene.”

He said the department is also carrying out public awareness campaigns to curb the spread of cholera in the province. 

Last week South Africa recorded its first cholera death: a 24-year-old man from Emandleni informal settlement in Wattville, Benoni. He had no travel history.

The national department of health on Sunday said there could be more cases of cholera in the country as it awaits laboratory test results of two more people who have symptoms of the bacterial disease and are possible contacts of people already diagnosed with it.  

Department spokesperson Foster Mohale said about 150 possible cholera contacts, mostly from Benoni on the East Rand, had been reached so far by Gauteng’s contact tracing teams.   


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