A sewerage pipe that has been spilling waste into the Moutse River for the past 10 years has sparked a row between the community of Moutse and the Sekhukhune District Municipality.
Residents have threatened to boycott the elections if it is not repaired before the end of the week.
Moutse falls under Elias Motsoaledi Local Municipality and is between Mpumalanga and Limpopo near Groblersdal.
Angry residents in the area accused the Sekhukhune District Municipality of failing to repair the sewer for more than a decade.
“The sewer is spilling waste into the river. That water is used by some villagers for domestic and irrigation purposes. The water is also used for drinking by wild and domestic animals.
“We are scared that the water is contaminated and if not boiled before use, it will lead to a cholera outbreak,” said community member Hamilton Bolotini yesterday.
Bolotini said several religious organisations also used the water to baptise their congregants.
“The pipe leakage was reported to the municipality some five months ago.
“The only time they took us seriously was after the media started questioning them about the pipe. That is why today they are here. As you can see, today it looks like the whole municipality is here, only because you sent them questions,” said Bolotini.
Another resident, Agnes Maseko, said the settlement through which the leaking pipe passes resembled a pigsty.
“There is an unbearable stench of faeces and urine. We can’t enjoy a meal because of the unbearable smell. How do they then expect us to vote for them if they treat us like garbage? As for my vote, they can kiss it goodbye,” she fumed.
National acting secretary-general for the Bolsheviks Party SA, Seun Mogotji, who is also a councillor in Elias Motsoaledi, said it was an ongoing problem.
“The problem dates back to 2012. When the pipe burst, the municipality appoints a service provider to fix it. But the service provider will then do shoddy work and five months later the leak is back,” he said.
Willy Mosoma of Sekhukhune District Municipality said the matter was receiving attention.