New Limpopo clinic has no running water

Municipality says Department of Health never applied for a connection

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The Magwedzha clinic in Dumasi village near Thohoyandou in Limpopo has not had running water since it opened 11 months ago. The municipality says the Limpopo Department of Health never applied for a water connection. Photo: Ndivhuwo Mukwevho

The new Magwedzha clinic in Dumasi village, outside Thohoyandou in Limpopo, has been operating for over 11 months without any running water. The municipality says the Limpopo Department of Health never applied for it to be connected to the main pipeline.

Nurses buy bottled water or hand sanitisers to clean their hands. Patients and staff go to fetch water from the old clinic nearby in order to flush the toilets. The old clinic had borehole water.

A staff nurse who did not want to give her name said some patients, such as women going into labour, had to be turned away from the clinic. “We cannot assist them to give birth due to lack of water,” she said.

Limpopo Department of Health spokesperson Neil Shikwambana said the clinic was connected to the municipal system but the municipal pipeline was not bringing water. He referred GroundUp to the Vhembe District Municipality.

But municipal spokesperson Matodzi Ralushai said the mainline pipe had been relocated and the clinic had not applied for a new connection. “The clinic requested to be connected to the water supply line and we told them and the Department of Health officials that they must lodge an application for re-connection with the municipality. But to date we have not yet received an application,” said Ralushai.

He said the municipality could not supply the clinic with water from tankers because the pipe inlets were too high.

“Officials from both the municipality and the health department are aware of the issues and were advised accordingly,” said Ralushai.

Mulatedzi Ramaano, deputy president of Health and Allied Workers Indaba Trade Union (HAITU) said the health department should never have moved health services to the new Magwedzha clinic without water. Ramaano said the department did not care about the needs of patients.

Asked why the department had not lodged an application for re-connection to the main pipeline, Shikwambana said he was waiting for information from his colleagues. Despite several attempts to follow up, he had not replied to GroundUp’s questions at the time of publication.

TOPICS:  Health Local government Water

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