Giyani residents accuse ZZ2 of diverting water from Middle Letaba dam

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Communities around Giyani have accused the commercial farming giant, ZZ2, of diverting water to the Middle Letaba Dam in Limpopo.

Communities near the dam say livestock and aquatic life have been affected by low water levels after the tomato and avocado producer erected a wall in one of the rivers that feed into the dam.

Water levels at the Middle Letaba Dam in Giyani have been gradually declining since 2007. Concerned residents say this began after the decision by commercial farming company, ZZ2, to erect a wall in one of the streams, intercepting water to the dam.

Video – ZZ2 farmer accused of contributing to water shortages in Giyani: 

The dam is a source of water for over 50 communities in and around Giyani. Residents have over the years been filing complaints with the Water and Sanitation Department to intervene, without success.

Some residents say they have been struggling to get water since the building of the wall.

One resident says, “We want the President to look at this matter. We have informed him about ZZ2, so why is there no action? Government must face these large companies on our behalf. It is a struggle for us to get water, we do not have reliable sanitation, and services like electricity are not provided, how are we supposed to live? It is challenging. I have lived here for years, but I still have no water,”

Video – Giyani bulk water project still incomplete after 14 years:

Allegations denied

Community leader, Vusi Chauke, has accused the department of delays in resolving the matter.

“This issue of ZZ2 started a long time ago in the early 2000. And then it’s affecting the communities because the water that is supposed to be used by the community at large, for livestock and consumption, it’s been used for irrigation upstream. We have raised the issue with the Department of Water Affairs and with the Minister Senzo Mchunu about the issue they say they have started with the demolition of the dams but we don’t have proof of that.”


In response, Limpopo Water Affairs Provincial Head, Lucy Kobe, says the issue of demolishing the dams is under legal review.

“We have issued a notice to issue a directive to them, they came back to us in December 2022 requesting an extension. They responded through their legal team to the notice in dispute and we have referred the response to our legal services,” Kobe explains.

ZZ2 has released a statement denying allegations that they are blocking rivers and streams feeding the Middle Letaba Dam.

ZZ2 Water Resource Manager, Antonie van Staden, also says politicians are using ZZ2 as a scapegoat for water challenges in Giyani.

Van Staden says the concerns over water shortages by residents are however legitimate.

Video – Giyani residents demand answers as water project deadline is missed: