Communities in Sekhukhune struggling to access water

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Some communities in the Sekhukhune area of Limpopo are still waiting for water tanks to alleviate the problem of water shortages. Residents at Balotsaneng-Letsopeng outside Burgersfort say they have not had piped water for many years.

They relied on water from fountains and streams, which have since dried up. There is a water pipe running through the village to the Modikwa platinum mine, yet the community is thirsty.

Sixty-five year-old Anna Moraba, a pensioner in Balotsaneng-Letsopeng village outside Burgersfort, stays with her two children. She has ten cattle and six goats.

Apart from providing for her family, she uses her pension to buy water for her livestock. Moraba says the platinum mine had brought hope to improve their lives.

However, they still don’t have water, proper roads and electricity. Now following the outbreak of the coronavirus, they are unable to adhere to the lockdown regulations, such as washing their hands and staying home.

Moraba has expressed disappointment in the mine and the water authority, which is the Sekhukhune District Municipality.

“We are experiencing a water problem here at Balotsaneng. When Modikwa Mine started mining here, they promised us that we will never run short of basic services. The municipality did the same. They made several promises. I had a borehole, but it is no longer working. Imagine buying water for domestic use and feeding my livestock. I am just a pensioner.”

Other residents say the fountains they used have dried up. The boreholes drilled by the district municipality in the area are also not working.

Makola and Matjie say they are forced to buy water from those with private boreholes.

“We had several engagements and meetings with the Modikwa Mine and the municipality but all in vain. They keep promising us. we seem to be the forgotten people though we are residing at the mine doorstep,” says one the residents, Mahlako Makola.

Another resident, Jane Matjie says, “We have not had water for many years. Almost fifteen years now. With the problem of infectious disease, we are fearing for our lives. Our boreholes, fountains and stream are dry. The mine kept promising that we will get water but nothing is happening.”

The Sekhukhune District Municipality acknowledges that it has failed to provide water to some communities.

Spokesperson, Moloko Moloto, says they hope to provide water tanks to some communities when they receive a second batch from the national Department of Water and Sanitation.

“In the wake of the COVID- 19 outbreak, we received 80 water tanks from the national Department of Water and Sanitation. We also received separate 70 storage tanks from the Lebalelo water users which are an association of mining companies operating in the district. Indeed, some villages in the district have not received these storage tanks, but we are hoping to get additional 237 storage tanks in the next weeks or so.”

Residents say the Modikwa Platinum Mine also promised to help but has not done so. The mine has not yet issued a comment.

Several other communities in the province are faced with a similar problem of shortages of water.