Community members, who were relocated from their homes to make way for the construction of the Nandoni Dam outside Thohoyandou in Limpopo, say they want accountability and clarity about compensation that is due to them for the relocation.
Residents from Budeli and Mutoti villages met with parliamentarians from portfolio committees on Human Settlement, Water, and Sanitation as well as officials from the Traditional Affairs at the Vhembe district municipality. The three committees are on a two-day oversight visit in Limpopo to monitor the progress of the multi-billion rand Nandoni to Nsami bulk water project.
Built in 1998, the Nandoni Dam has been the subject of various probes. These include a report by former Public Protector, Lawrence Mushwana, which recommended that government revisits the amount payable for compensation to villagers, who were relocated to make way for the dam.
The report stated that reparations should be for the loss of both residential land and ploughing fields. Residents say the compensation has come in drips and drabs for the loss of their homes — but none for their agricultural land. One of the residents, Takalani Tshifhango explains:
“No compensation is coming towards us. Please can we have those funds or please can we have access to the water that has been put down or that has been used while they are using our farms in order for each and everyone of us to have water? How come don’t we have water whereas we are staying at a place that has water? If that is the case and they cannot be able to compensate us we will have to open the dam. We open the dam and let the water flow so that we can have our farms and be able to farm. So we really need parliament and the people that are around here to give us accountability, accountability that is on record and that is not on face value.”
Another resident, Peter Netshifhefhe, has bemoaned the delay in the compensation due to them.
“We were better then. Today we are so poor and the thing that is making us poor is because we are being told we will get money, you know waiting for the money you think you will be better to tomorrow.”
Nandoni Resolution Committee chairperson, Solly Baloyi says the Budeli and Mutoti communities have run out of patience as they have been waiting for compensation for decades.
“After this meeting, we are expecting the department to come to us and finalise the compensation. If that can’t happen it is better we open all the valves of the dam and the water flow out. All of them, we going to go back to our mealie field and plough again. If we can’t get drinking water again, we can’t be patient for this long time without getting drinking water.”
Chairperson of the portfolio committee on Water and Sanitation, Robert Mashego, says residents at villages near Nandoni, outside Thohoyandou and Giyani, are still not getting water.
“We compare what the petitioners are saying in the report. If the report tells us there is progress we will apreciate it, if it tells us there is no report then we are moving. We can’t go back to him again. We are going to report him to the President. We believe that the minister is not playing games, people of Nandoni and Giyani are still not getting any progress but will go and see that, that’s why we are going to do an inspection loco today and do an inspection loco tomorrow.”
The committees will conclude their two-day oversight visit at Nsami Dam in Giyani on Saturday.