Gladys Gwenda died in hospital after severe cholera symptoms

Daughter says she is scared of Hammanskraal tap water after losing her mother

Herman Moloi & Antonio Muchave Reporter & Photo Journalist
Gladys Gwenda.
Gladys Gwenda.

Rhulani Baloyi recalls how she dismissed her mother when she called to inform her that her had a running tummy.

Baloyi said she did not take her 46-year-old mother, Gladys Gwenda, seriously

"She called me and told me that she has a running stomach; we brushed it off and jokingly left the topic."

This would mark Gwenda's last moments as Hammanskraal was hit by a cholera outbreak.

Unbeknown to Baloyi at the time, cholera was slowly ravaging her mother who would eventually be one of the 28 Hammanskraal residents to be killed by the waterborne disease.

The following day Gwenda called her again and this time Baloyi knew that it was very serious.

"She called me to come to her place. You could hear from her voice that she was worse.”  

Click here for more stories on he Hammanskraal cholera outbreak.
Click here for more stories on he Hammanskraal cholera outbreak.

Baloyi rushed to Gwenda's place and found that she had collapsed on the floor, was unable to walk and had soiled herself.

She rushed her mother to Jubilee Hospital and said she found a mess when she arrived there.

"There were people vomiting and sick; it was packed. Others had soiled themselves; others were on the floor; and we left because the nurses said so."

However, worse was still to come.

Baloyi, a mother of five, returned to the hospital the following day because her 16-year-old daughter had complained about stomach cramps.

She said when she got there, her mother was still in the same spot she had left her in the previous day, on a stretcher in casualty and still not attended to. Gwenda was then moved to a ward.

While still in the hospital still tending to her sick daughter, someone called Baloyi and asked her to rush to her mother's ward. When she got there, she was told that her mother had passed away.

According to Baloyi, they still drink the water coming from the tap even though there are times it turns brown. However, she is unemployed and can't afford to buy water.

"We wait for tankers but sometimes they do not come, so we drink the one from the taps. We know that if the water goes off for a while, we don't drink the water that comes out immediately," she said.

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