Christmas came early for a thirsty community in Limpopo, after the national Disaster Relief Fund injected R84 million into the Mopani District municipality, which has been struck by drought for the past nine years.
The largest slice of the budget would be used to refurbish boreholes and drill new ones, in an effort to relieve the region from the protracted drought.
“We have already dispatched a team of engineers to identify the critical areas and boreholes needed to be refurbished,” Mopani district municipality spokesperson Witness Tiva said yesterday.
“This is an emergency programme. Our primary objective is to make sure our community get clean running water for their day-to-day household needs.”
The Mopani district covers the five local municipalities of Tzaneen, Letaba, Maruleng, Ba-Phalaborwa and Giyani.
The municipality was declared a disaster area in 2009, after the municipality’s main water sources, Middle Letaba, Thapane, Nsami and Modjadji Dams dried up, leaving more than 1.2 million people without running water.
The ANC PR councillor in the Greater Tzaneen municipality, Moss Mahasha, said the community of Tzaneen welcomes the financial injection from the relief fund.
“But our study has revealed that about 90% of boreholes drilled in Tzaneen have no water. The boreholes were drilled by Lepelle Northern Water. More concerning is that service providers who drilled the very same boreholes were paid for their services while our drought-stricken community swim in a pool of thirst,” Mahasha said.
Mahasha’s words were echoed by Ward-9 ANC activist Mathata Mametja, who was sceptical that the money would be properly spent.
“I am worried that those who stand to be awarded the tenders are a politically connected few. We know these boreholes are only going to be used to bankroll the ANC’s election gimmick next year May. ”
President Cyril Ramaphosa was billed to visit the municipality last month, but the visit was cancelled following allegations that that the information the presidency was given about the project was biased.
Yesterday Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Khusela Diko, said the president was still on course to visit the municipality.