Protests rock villages of Tzaneen over lack of water supply

Residents of Tzaneen in Limpopo have barricaded the R36 road with burning tyres and rocks over a lack of water in their areas.

Greater Tzaneen local municipality spokesperson Neville Ndlala told Sunday World on Monday that the protests started on Sunday afternoon.

Ndlala said the residents are protesting for not getting water. He could not state the period the protesting communities have gone without having access to reliable water.

He said the local municipality is working with Eskom and the Mopani district municipality to ensure the residents receive water on time.

Ndlala referred Sunday World to the Mopani district municipality for further information.

Municipality spokesperson Odas Ngobeni said the protesters are from Muhlave and Petanenge villages.

Ritavi water scheme project

The Mopani district municipality, said Ngobeni, concedes that there is a shortage of water supply in the communities.

“We are doing work in the area as part of the Ritavi water scheme project, which targets communities including Muhlava, Muhlava-cross, Sasekani, Petangene, Zanghoma, and the surrounding villages,” said Ngobeni.

“We have already done reticulation with house connections. The progress is now at 85.9%, which is part of phase three of this project.

“The challenge is the difficulty in connecting the 5.8km bulk line to the reservoir, where we have encountered resistance from the Dan community.

“After numerous meetings with the Dan community, the contractor was allowed access to the site, but the pipes were later burned, and they threatened to also burn the plant. We are continuing to engage the community for a breakthrough.”

He said the existing water infrastructure is unable to cope with the demand; hence, the municipality has implemented the project with house connections.

The water supply is not adequate

“We concede that the water supply is not adequate. This is a project that should ultimately help us resolve the problem.

“As a temporary measure, we are currently trying to create a bypass through the old bulk line to supply the community.”

Limpopo police spokesperson Colonel Malesela Ledwaba said that members of public order policing are monitoring the situation along the R36 Lydenburg Road from Kujwana T-junction to Bridgeway, where a group of demonstrators barricaded the road. 

“Our mission is to protect all people in the vicinity, including the protesters and the properties. Members are closely monitoring the situation,” said Ledwaba.
“They are working with the relevant structures or bodies. There have not been any arrests yet. Should there be a manifestation of a possible commission of crime, the police will not hesitate to take action.” 


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