Granny, 75, falls to death in well

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

A 75-year-old Mpumalanga pensioner drowned in a well when she tried to fetch water in the early hours of Friday morning.

Her death brings to three the number of grannies who have drowned in wells in the same village since January last year.

Residents of Nkomo village in Cottondale, near Acornhoek, claim that the three incidents are the result of infighting between politicians in the Bushbuckridge municipality.

The body of Pauline Mbizozo Ndubane was discovered in the well by fellow villagers.

Her granddaughter, Triva Mathebula, 29, tearfully told Sowetan that she had begged Ndubane not to go to the well because there was enough water in the house.

Mathebula said she went back to sleep shortly after speaking to her grandmother, who had insisted on going to fetch water.

"I dreamt I was drowning in the well," Mathebula said. "I later heard people shouting that someone had drowned in a well and got the fright of my life when I discovered they were referring to my grandmother."

She accused the Bushbuckridge municipality of failing to supply the area with water because of its fight with local councillor Albert Khoza.

Minosa Sihlangu, Ndubane's sister, told Sowetan that the family was devastated because it had no money to bury her.

Flora Malatjie, 61, from the same village, was the first victim to drown in the well, followed by Saliah Sibuyi, 70, last year.

Daniel Mokgope of the United Democratic Movement said the area had water pipes that have run dry as a result of a dispute between Bushbuckridge mayor Milton Morema and Khoza.

"We are angry because the feud between the two politicians has led to the death of yet another granny, Mokgope said.

"It's not fair that a fight between a mayor and councillor should be at the expense of people's lives."

Bushbuckridge municipality communications manager Matume Malatjie dismissed the alleged fight as a rumour but conceded that the area did not have water.

"We are making progress across the whole area of our jurisdiction, and that is not the only village without water," Malatjie said.

He accused Khoza of failing to deliver as a councillor.

Khoza refused to comment, saying the issue had taken an ugly twist because of the death of the grannies.