Protesters build 'wall' across provincial road, demand clean water

Community members at Dennilton have built a 'wall' across the R25 as part of a protest demanding access to clean water.
Community members at Dennilton have built a 'wall' across the R25 as part of a protest demanding access to clean water.
Image: Maswabisa Podile

Dennilton, Limpopo, home town of the Ndlovu Youth Choir, was shut down on Wednesday as residents protested over the provision of water.

Roads leading to Dennilton were blocked, schools were shut and the local shopping centre was closed.

In addition to burning tyres, the community built a wall-like structure with bricks across the middle of the R25 road towards Groblersdal. The R25 is a provincial route that connects Johannesburg with Groblersdal.

Community spokesperson Seun Mogotji said: “This call is genuine and no one from national, provincial and local government has ever clarified ... as to why the bulk water supply project is taking so long to complete.

“The ruling party in the region and the province has also failed us, none is willing to stand up and confront the masses ... and give a thorough explanation as to why a project which started in 2011 is still incomplete in 2020,” said Mogotji.

The community had allegedly requested a meeting with human settlements, water and sanitation minister Lindiwe Sisulu but this did not happen.

They said the meeting was scheduled for last week Friday but on Thursday they received communication that officials were going to QwaQwa.

SowetanLIVE reported that on Friday the minister visited the Free State to address its water crisis.

She announced several interventions, including R220m in funding. Sisulu said the government would bring 5,000 Jojo tanks to the area within days.

Department spokesperson Sputnik Ratau said: “I am not aware of any commitment by the minister to meet them. There is no way the minister would prioritise QwaQwa or any area over them.

“The issue of water shortages is an international problem and the minister would not intentionally deny our people access to the services promised,” said Ratau.

Limpopo police spokesperson Brig Motlafela Mojapelo said no arrests had been made and there was no violence.

“They have blocked roads with rocks and burning tyres. The police are monitoring the situation. The community barricades the streets and then flee the scene, the police have as a result not made any arrests,” Mojapelo said.

He confirmed that roads, the Moutse Shopping Mall, businesses and schools were closed.