PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa has owned up to the poor governance, weak management and poor maintenance of infrastructure by his government for disease outbreaks, including the latest eruption of cholera.
As of Monday, when his weekly letter was made available, the death toll
had risen to 24. Hammanskraal, north of the Gauteng province is the
epicentre of the waterborne disease. Dozens more people have been
hospitalised following the outbreak.
“We have responsibility – and are determined – to remedy those
shortcomings in a sustainable way and as a matter of urgency,” Ramaphosa
The president said the deaths in Gauteng and the Free State were “deeply
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families who have lost their
loved ones,” he consoled.
Ramaphosa noted earlier this year, the World Health Organisation (WHO)
and international relief organisations warned that after years of steady
decline, cholera has made ‘a devastating comeback’, putting over 1
billion people in 43 countries at risk.
According to the WHO, 24 countries have had reported cases since the
beginning of the year, including in parts of Malawi, Mozambique and
However, sentiments by Ramaphosa that “Generally, water quality in South
Africa is of a high standard, which, according to our Water Research
Commission, compares well with the best in the world,” have received
backlash from the main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA).
John Steenhuisen, leader of the DA, accused Ramaphosa of downplaying the
“Aside from a dangerous denial of South Africa’s water crisis and the
ANC’s role in it, this is also a gross misrepresentation of the facts
which neither diagnoses the problem, nor seeks to address it,”
“It is this same denial of our electricity crisis that has South Africa
on the brink of a national grid collapse. The President cannot afford to
bury his head in the sand on South Africa’s water,” the opposition
– CAJ News