Okavango voice “it’s the alcohol & drugs- water utilities
Water Utilities Co-operation (WUC)department in Maun has refuted allegations that they have been serving communities with untreated underground water that has allegedly lead to kidney failure in communities in Maun and surrounding areas with some especially in Shorobe village rumoured to have died from related complications.
Speaking at the ongoing sub-council meeting in Maun, Sakoyo/Shorobe councillor, Olebile Chombo alleged that scores of residents especially in Shorobe have succumbed to kidney failure owing to consumption of untreated water.
Chombo went on to say WUC confirmed that in a recent kgotla meeting in Shorobe and that WUC had read a report to that effect in that public forum.
Asked to share the copy of the report after the council session, Chombo said he did not have it but said with certainty that WUC has it.
Nonetheless, WUC has indicated that such a report is non-existent and therefore could have never been shared by the corporation.
“We deal with issues of water quality, if at all there were issues regarding a certain disease, the health department would be the ones to issue such a report,” explained Ndadi.
He in fact stated that indeed they visited Mababe not so very long time ago to update the community on issues of water supply.
“Routinely we visit our water sources, boreholes, rivers, and dams and test the water. This is because the water quality changes from time to time. Sometimes minerals underground get too close to the water and contaminate it, but soon as we realize that the water quality is deteriorating, we treat the water or close the source,” Ndadi added.
In the case of Shorobe, he stated that they consulted councillor Chombo and told him that the borehole that has been supplying Shorobe has to be closed due to the deteriorating water quality.
Ndadi added that for some time Shorobe was consuming untreated water which then was safe for consumption but when the quality deteriorated the borehole was closed, “Currently we bring them water from Maun to Shorobe. The reason for consultation was that purpose so that people would understand that the water supply would be occasionally interrupted.”
Just last year a similar matter was raised in the same council after it was informed that at least 347 cases of renal failure had been registered in the Northwest District in the previous year, with three people have died from kidney failure.
The revelation by the District Health Team (DHMT) was made in a written response to a question posed by Thito East councillor, Othaile Molamu, who had wanted to know the cause of kidney failure in the district and the number of people who have succumbed to the problem.
Molamu expressed suspicion that people could be poisoned by drinking the salty Ngamiland water or some food that could be contributing to the ailments.
“Many people are dying from kidney failure in Maun and surrounding areas. We are concerned and worried that we may be consuming the poison through food or water, so we want to know what is happening,” Molamu said during a follow-up interview outside the council.
However, the response from the DHMT suggested that people are being killed by other consumables other than water, such as unhealthy consumption of alcohol, use of tobacco, and drugs.