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Life without water in Ga-Sekhukhune leads to protest

- Omhle Ntshingila

Five communities in Limpopo who have been fighting for years for an adequate water supply are set to protest at the Union Buildings to petition the President

In 2015, the communities of Elandskraal, Morarela, Mbuzini, Regae (Tsantsabela) and Dichoewung in Ga-Sekhukhune Ephraim Mogale Municipality approached the Centre for Legal Applied Studies (CALS) to represent them in matter against their Municipality. The matter is in concern with the water shortage the community has been experiencing since 2003. 

The five villages located in the Ga-Sekhukhune area of Limpopo have been experiencing a constant interruption in water supply. Prior to this, when the villages were under the Local Municipality of Ephraim Mogale, the communities had a continuous water supply. However, when the water rights were handed over to the Sekhukhune District Municipality in 2003, the communities began to experience disruption in their daily water supply. On behalf of the communities, CALS approached the High Court for an order directing the Municipality to provide them with a sufficient water supply. On 21 July 2015, the Court directed the Municipality to provide the five villages with water bi-weekly, which would be stored in Jojo tanks surrounding the communities. The Municipality was also ordered to devise and implement a long-term sustainable plan for the supply of water to the communities, including monthly reports updating the Court on the situation. 

To date, the Municipality has failed to comply with the court order. The communities have been left without an adequate sanitation system, placing them in a more vulnerable position, especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The communities have been forced to collect water from rivers nearby, which are shared with wild animals and present a danger to community members. This process has burdened the communities’ livelihoods and deteriorated the quality of life in Ga-Sekhukhune. No-one in South Africa should have to be bear the consequences of an irresponsible, negligent and corrupt system.  

The lack of access to water and sanitation infringes on the communities’ basic human rights. The silence of the current administration to the struggles of these communities throughout Limpopo has been appalling and calls for urgent attention. The five communities have exhausted all avenues in a bid to hold the Municipality accountable. It is for this reason that the communities of Ga-Sekhukhune have decided to take action by exercising their right to protest, to petition President Cyril Ramaphosa to hold government officials responsible for these injustices. 

The protest is set to take place at the Union Buildings on Thursday, 18 November 2021, from 10:00

Please consider signing the petition here

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