The cholera outbreak in southern Limpopo and central Mpumalanga is the result of poor service delivery, and has nothing to do with the cholera crisis in neighbouring Zimbabwe, the Mail and Guardian reported on Friday.
"Municipalities are simply not doing enough to provide clean water and safe sanitation in this country," said Jonathan Timm, spokesperson for Mvula Trust, the country's biggest non-governmental organisation focusing on water issues.
"Rural communities are being forced to use water that has been contaminated with human waste. Human faeces and waste is landing up in our rivers and, because municipalities are failing to provide piped water, communities are forced to drink river water.
"The cholera outbreak is directly linked to this problem. And even if we beat the outbreak this year, cholera will keep recurring unless government starts dedicating real resources and technical expertise to the root causes in rural municipalities," Timm told the weekly newspaper.
Between November 15 and January 24, 5 696 patients were diagnosed and treated for cholera in South Africa, including 36 deaths.
In Zimbabwe, the cholera death hit 3 000 this week. - (News24.Com, January 2009)
Zim cholera: 50 000 infected
SA cholera not Zim's fault