News24: We've been quietly testing drinking water quality in 6 cities for a month. Here's what we've found


Super Moderator
Feb 23, 2005
  • The Blue Drop report, the government's assessment of South Africa's drinking water, is late.
  • But for the last month we've been doing our own independent testing of water in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Pretoria, Gqeberha, and Bloemfontein.
  • We found that, across those cities, drinking water at our test taps is generally safe and clean – and often of a very high quality.
  • Our Cape Town and Bloemfontein sites have thrown up some red flags, and there is some variability at our Gqeberha tap. But the Gauteng cities and Durban fared very well.
In early June, Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu released an "interim" look at South Africa's water infrastructure, and promised the full audit of the water system, the Blue Drop Report, in July.

That document – key to triggering interventions where people are at risk of disease and illness from their drinking water – has yet to be published. Last week, the Department of Water and Sanitation told us it is now due for release only before the end of September, in part due to load shedding (see below).

But since late June, News24 and Netwerk24 have been drawing and testing samples of water in South Africa's biggest cities, to independently verify the quality of drinking water.

With funding from Truth First, a central lab partner, and a network of satellite laboratories all over the country, we have tested weekly samples from one tap in each city for the most critical standard indications of biological or chemical trouble.

What we've found has been extremely reassuring for city dwellers, in sharp contrast to the overall, national situation.

No matter what any report says I can't ever see myself stop buying drinking water. The taste is better and the risks are lower. I don't trust the gov.