Limpopo grandmother walks 2km to beg for water

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Some residents of Dipateng and Sione villages in Limpopo protest for water on Tuesday.
Some residents of Dipateng and Sione villages in Limpopo protest for water on Tuesday.
Bernard Chiguvare/GroundUp
  • Residents of Dipateng and Sione villages in Limpopo staged a two-day protest over service delivery this week.
  • Sione has not had running water, despite taps being installed in 2018.
  • Municipality officials promised that community members would receive water tankers this week.

"I am tired of walking around begging for water from people who have boreholes at their homesteads," 78-year-old Sontaga Malaka from Dipateng village in Limpopo said on Tuesday.

Malaka joined 50 mostly elderly villagers from Dipateng and neighbouring Sione who blocked roads leading to the N1 highway during a two-day protest to demand water from the Molemole Local Municipality.

Malaka said she often walled two kilometres from home to collect water with her five-litre bucket which she filed twice a day.

"I have no money to buy water, that's why I have to walk. Luckily, the community always offers me the water," Malaka said on Tuesday.

READ | Water everywhere! Cape Town dams overflow after periods of drought

In Dipateng village, the community said that they had not consistently received water since February as the operator at the water tanks nearby closed the water randomly.

In Sione village, water taps were installed in 2018 but no water was pumped to the community.

Tanker

The community claims that since the installation, they have never received any water. They say the municipality does not consistently provide a water tanker to the village. Most families have to buy water from community members who have their own boreholes.

According to community leader Danis Madidimalo, the two villages approached the Molemole municipality several times without success.

"On Monday we decided to block the road leading to N1. Maybe that is the language the municipality understands better," said Madidimalo.

He said the municipality had recently opened the taps in Dipateng but residents decided to continue blocking the roads on Tuesday until the municipality addressed them.

Donald Machaba from the municipality said Sione would receive water with a tank on Wednesday.

Machaba said there was no water problem in Dipateng as the water was running. However, at the time of the protests, the taps were dry.

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