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Locals compete with cattle for water

For people in Limpopo’s far north, the search for drinking water has become so painstaking and costly that accessing the precious commodity is increasingly becoming a mission in itself.

As locals in the Vhembe and Mopani districts have discovered since last year, fetching a relatively clean sample of drinking water without paying an exorbitant amount is nigh impossible.

With water evaporating from the Nsami and the Middle Letaba dams from the drought, locals in areas such as Makuleke village, outside Thohoyandou, have to compete with animals for the scarce commodity.

In this area bordering the Kruger National Park it hasn’t rained since October, when drought struck, killing 2 000 cattle and threatening the future of subsistence farmers.

Lillian Mtileni, from Makuleke, said she had to buy water from borehole owners or share dirty water from the river with animals.

“We pay R2 for 20 litres. If you don’t have money, you go where the animals go,” according to Mtileni.

Vhembe municipal spokesman Moses Shivambo said they had appointed a contractor to supply water from the Shikundu Dam.

Also affected is Muyexe village, a pilot project declared by President Jacob Zuma.

Tintswalo Machebele said they had yet to taste water from the Nandoni Dam as promised by the Mopani municipality.

Although a multimillion-rand tender was issued to contractors linked to Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale and former ANC Youth League president Julius Malema, work has yet to start on the pipes from the dam.


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