Residents along the Mvude river at Manini near Thohoyandou in Limpopo say they are concerned the heavy rains caused by tropical storm Eloise will drive hippos and crocodiles into their communities. On Sunday, a crocodile was found near a homestead, causing panic among the residents.
The Mvude river flows through Manini village and into the nearby Nandoni Dam. The recent heavy downpours have caused crocodiles and hippos to move out of the water and wander into the residents’ yards.
On Sunday, a big crocodile was found near homesteads at Manini. The crops in a nearby mealie field have also been damaged, possibly by hippos.
“We’ve got problems about this river because of the crocodiles and the hippos. Yesterday, a very big crocodile came from the river. Fortunately enough, two guys who were coming to see how full the river is managed to see it before it caused damage (sic) to our children or our shepherds – people who are looking after the cattle, the goats or sheep, and a certain lady was complaining about the hippos here, which are damaging her maize crops. we are not safe at all,” says local civic leader Ephraim Tshikudo.
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A resident at Manini says it is common for the crocodiles to wander into their yards.
Mpfunzo Mashawana believes that a perimeter fence might help stop the animals from wandering into the communal land.
“Our problem is that we are not safe as villagers because the crocodiles come out of the river and come next to our houses and also pythons, so we suggest that the department of environment, as well as home affairs, place the perimeter fence so that all of us can be safe.”
While the rain continues to fall in the area, the Social Development Spokesperson, Witness Tiva, says they have started providing relief to the distressed families.
“The team of dedicated social workers and community development practitioners, as well as Disaster Management from the district and local municipalities, are hard at work assisting the affected households. We urge our communities to exercise extreme caution.”
The disaster management authorities say they are still making assessments.