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'Exposure to toxic waste contributed to my mother's death'

The Vaal community who had to contend with persistent environmental hazards including the sewage seeping through their homes, schools and cemeteries.

Raw sewage at a settlement in Boipatong in the Vaal area. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – The family of a Boipatong woman believe her years' long exposure to toxic waste and raw sewage in the area contributed to her death.

The 56-year-old Seipati Hlapholosa was chronically ill and she passed away two weeks ago.

Hlapholosa was one of many residents in the Vaal community who had to contend with persistent environmental hazards including the sewage seeping through their homes, schools and cemeteries.

There are concerns that the deaths of several others were also caused by those toxic conditions.

When Eyewitness News visited Boipatong last month, many residents described what they had to live with every day.

At the time, Hlapholosa said nothing had changed.

“We’re here with grandchildren and adults, we’re all in danger.”

Two weeks ago, Hlapholosa succumbed to lupus, which she had been battling for years.

Her daughter Ntswaki says she’s convinced her mother’s surroundings contributed to her deteriorating health.

“I still think something could have been done, maybe, just maybe, she could have survived.”

Outside the Hlapholosa home, the situation has not changed much since EWN was last there with puddles of contaminated water still visible.

A mere few meters away, outside a school is a rubbish dump which poses even more danger to those nearby.

WATCH: Boipatong community living with raw sewage for over five years