'Flooding rivers result of rain'
The Limpopo department of water affairs has dismissed reports that the death of a man from the overflowing Olifants River was as a result of a decision to open a dam to avoid it bursting.
The river unexpectedly started overflowing on Friday last week catching residents of villages in Penge near Burgersfort unaware.
The missing body of the man who fell from a makeshift cable to cross the river has still not been found. An estimated 1000 residents have been cut off from the outside world without access to food and other basic necessities.
Earlier reports indicated that the overfilled Loskop Dam in Middelburg had been opened to avoid it bursting as that would affect many households living nearby.
But department spokesman Leah Matlala said the Olifants River overflowed because of the heavy rains that fell recently. She said the water was coming from the overfilled Loskop and Flag Boshielo Dams which did not have the capacity to carry the amount of water experienced in the recent rains.
"Both the Loskop and Flag Boshielo dams do not have the valves required to open them to release the water at any given time," she said.
She said they had no direct control over the overflowing rivers.
"But we would like to warn villagers not to endanger their lives by crossing any dangerous river."
Kgoshi Setlamorago Thobejane, a resident, said he was disappointed at the slow pace the government was moving in offering help.
Spokesman for the Greater Sekhukhune district municipality, Selby Makgotho, said they were still inspecting the affected villages to see what could be done to help.