Clean water still three years away

Sekhukhune District Municipality executive mayor, Cllr Keamotseng Ramaila.

SEKHUKHUNE – The right to clean water has always been an unfulfilled dream of communities living in the Sekhukhune District Municipality (SDM) and Limpopo. And now it looks like it is going to take two or three years more before they finally get access to water from the De Hoop Dam.

Community members cheered, ululated and celebrated when President Jacob Zuma opened the over R3 billion dam back in March 2014, signalling what was thought to be the end to their water woes. However, three years later, in areas such as Kutullo, Kgautswane, Makgemeng, Tukakgomo and many other villages in the district they are still sharing water with animals.

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Zuma finally opens De Hoop Dam

To clear the air on issues affecting the region, the executive mayor of SDM, Keamotseng Ramaila said it previously had issues with the contractor. “We had challenges with the contractor installing the pipeline, but all is sorted out now. In three months’ time he will be back on site. In two to three years the communities will get water from the dam.

“Among other challenges encountered were illegal connections by communities. This also stalled the progress. The installation of the pipeline from Ga Malekane to Jane Furse will resume in due time. We can assure locals that this will in future help to eradicate communities’ water challenges.”

Ramaila said to remedy the current water problems experienced by residents, they had acquired four trucks to supply villages in dire need.

He also hinted that the Limpopo Department of Water and Sanitation was in the process of supplying communities with bulk raw water.

De Hoop Dam stores about 347 million cubic metres of water and covers an area of about 1 690 hectares.

Back in 2014, Zuma said the dam would also be used to supply water to the mines in order to help unlock vast mineral deposits, mainly in the form of platinum group metals found in the region.

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Instead of hope, top ranked dam instills fear in locals

“It will therefore be a catalyst for both social and economic development for this region. The dam confirms the good story of the country – the story of the development and progress that South Africa has achieved since 1994.

“The opening of this dam is yet another contribution to that drive of building a better South Africa through improving access to basic services and socio-economic infrastructure,” he said back then.

Meanwhile residents of Kutullo, Steelpoort Park’s Matepe Section, a village which is about six kilometres from the dam, complained that they had hoped the dam would provide a solution to their problems, but to no avail.

“When the dam was completed we thought our problems were going to be solved, but we were wrong,” they said. “This seems like another white elephant.”

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Gilbert Motseo and Mariska Sadler

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