Enough of dirty water!
PROTESTS: RESIDENTS BLOCK ROADS, BURN TYRES, FORCE SCHOOLS TO CLOSE
Community demands minister, premier must address them.
Apall of smoke hung over the town of Moutse on the border between Limpopo and Mpumalanga yesterday after angry residents burned tyres and barricaded all roads leading to schools and other government premises in a bid to force Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha and Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu to listen to their grievances.
By noon, schools were temporarily closed, along with shopping complexes such as Moutse Mall, and the usually busy Moloto Road between Pretoria and Groblersdal
was a no-go area.
The residents, in the early hours of the morning, used tree trunks and burning tyres to close the road. They also built walls with bricks on the busy road to block traffic.
The residents claimed they had spent over six months without clean, running water.
“We have had it with government’s empty promises,” said protest organiser Sipho Msiza during the march yesterday.
“It can never be business as usual when our people continue to drink dirty water that is also used by wild animals.”
Msiza said the community would continue with the protest until Sisulu and Mathabatha addressed them.
He said they have decided to make sure that no one goes to school or work until the two leaders explain to them when they are going to have clean, running water.
Another resident, Seun Mogotji, who was also part of the protest, said women were always at the receiving end of the water shortage because they were expected by their families to cook for them, bath and wash with the
He said the water shortage continued even when Sekhukhune district municipality received grants from the national department of water and sanitation and the Limpopo provincial treasury.
“It is surprising that the district has appointed a service provider to deliver a bulk water project in Moutse. But I am now baffled that the project is stalling,” said Mogotji. “We want Sisulu and Mathabatha to explain why we do not have water 26 years after democracy and why the project has been abandoned,” he said.
Yesterday, the municipality confirmed that the area was experiencing serious water shortages but said the problem was caused by persistent drought that negatively affected the level of water in Mkhombo Dam of Dr JS Moroka local municipality in Mpumalanga.
“In an endeavour to lessen the problem, we have set aside money to the tune of R12 million to tanker water to Moutse until the completion of the Moutse Bulk Water project,” Stan Ramaila, mayor for the Sekhukhune district municipality, said yesterday.
Ramaila appealed for calm and cautioned that while everyone had the right to protest, that right should not infringe on other people’s rights. He said it was wrong to barricade roads and prevent pupils from going to school and people from going to work.
It can never be business as usual