Thursday, July 31, 2008

More than 131 babies die in water contamination

Only in Africa

This incredibly sad story has hardly raised an eyebrow or made front page headlines.

This has been swept under the carpet and the government has made no efforts to investigate this tragic story.

Where are Tutu, Mandela and Mbeki that they could make so much noise about the xenophobia deaths, only because of the bad international press but the deaths of more than 131 babies in their own backyard is a non event.

Only one local newspaper ran this story and local authorities threatened with law suits and used all the state machinery to their disposal to sweep this under the carpet. Fortunately they persisted and this is now finally in the open, although we are yet to see a commission of inquiry or any gesture from this government that they actually care.

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The provincial portfolio committee for health has found a direct link between the deaths of over a hundred babies and water contamination in an Eastern Cape district.

In a report by the committee that was tabled and discussed in the Legislature on Wednesday night, the death of 131 babies was attributed to poor water quality.

The report vindicates a series of stories published by the Daily Dispatch which found babies had died of diarrhoea and related illnesses because of the water supply in Barkly East and Sterkspruit.

Government departments denied water quality was the cause of their deaths and some officials went as far as to blame HIV as the sole cause.

The same departments have also failed to agree on the actual number of deaths, with figures as high as 142 often quoted.

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