Nearly 40000 residents of Glen-Cowie and Phokoane in Sekhukhune have been forced to use contaminated river water for their household needs.
The residents have to share the river with donkeys, goats and cattle.
This was after the bulk water project to supply more than 17 villages became stalled because the councillor who spearheaded the project has been suspended.
Councillor Nancy Mohlala was suspended by the ANC on September 11, rendering her dysfunctional in the Makhuduthamaga municipality.
Mohlala was suspended after she allegedly destroyed a list of the ANC delegation to the party's conference in Polokwane last year.
Since her suspension projects such as bulk water supply and road works have come to a standstill.
Village taps have been without water for days, forcing residents to walk long distances in search of water in wells, fountains or rivers.
Others buy water from people who have boreholes.
According to residents they pay R1 for 20 litres and R1,50 for 25 litres.
Those who cannot afford to pay for water resort to river water covered with algae and susceptible to bilharzia.
"We boil the water before using it in fear of contracting cholera," residents spokesman Mathabatha Mokwena of Glen-Cowie said yesterday.
"Our children lose lessons since they often leave school to go home to drink boiled water,"
Attempts to get comment from mayor Queen Mokhabela failed as she said she was in a meeting.