Officials of the Limpopo provincial government have declared the Vhembe district along the border with Zimbabwe a disaster area in light of the cholera epidemic in the northern neighbour, which risks spreading to other parts of the region. At least eight people have died from the infectious bacterial disease and more than 660 people have been treated in Limpopo province, including many who have entered South Africa from Zimbabwe in search of treatment.

In Zimbabwe the official death toll stands at just under 800 and the health services, which were already overburdened as a result of years of economic and social turmoil, are reportedly near collapse, although the government of Robert Mugabe insists that the situation is under control.

Meanwhile the Maputo-based daily newspaper