‘I'm sorry you didn’t have water for a decade’: Lindiwe Sisulu pledges R145m for drought relief in Sekhukhune

Elias Seloma braves the crocodile-infested Lepelle River near his home in the village of Elandskraal to draw water for his family, because of an unreliable supply from the Sekhukhune district municipality.
Elias Seloma braves the crocodile-infested Lepelle River near his home in the village of Elandskraal to draw water for his family, because of an unreliable supply from the Sekhukhune district municipality.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi

The community of Sekhukhune in Limpopo will now have access to water after a decade-long failure by the municipality to supply thousands of households.

This is according to minister of human settlements, water and sanitation Lindiwe Sisulu who visited Moutse near Groblersdal in Limpopo on Friday and pledged R143m towards drought relief in the area.    

Residents had to grapple with walking long distances to neighbouring villages and, sometimes, risk their lives to draw water from the crocodile-infested Lepelle river.

“I first have to apologise to the community on behalf of government for the challenges that you have had for a long time. I would like to assure you that we have heard your cries and our presence here shows that we care so much about you.

“I have tasked the municipality and Lepelle Northern Water to work together to ensure that the community of Sekhukhune has access to water”, said Sisulu.

She was joined by Limpopo premier Phuku Stanley Mathabatha and CoGHSTA MEC Basikopo Makamu, executive mayor of Sekhukhune District Municipality Stanley Ramaila and Lepelle Northern Water Board.

She said the funds would be used to drill new boreholes and refurbish existing ones in the area. They were expected to be administered by Lepelle Northern Water.

She said five water tankers and 20 water tanks had been donated and would be administered by the Sekhukhune District Municipality to address the long-standing issues in the interim.

Sisulu assured the community of Moutse that there would be additional water tanks to ensure that all the residents have water, prioritising the elderly, the schools, the police station, and the Philadelphia Hospital that serves the community.

The measures were expected to run while the municipality worked with Lepelle Northern Water Board, the province, and the DWS Limpopo office to initiate projects for sustainable water reticulation in the area.

She admitted that residents of Sekhukhune, particularly  Moutse, had been without water for a long time.

Sisulu and Mathabatha assured the community that their water problems would soon be over.

“This intervention needs to be seen in the context of the emergency situation that is in the area. The DWS intervened, but does not take away the responsibility of local government to ensure optimally operational reticulation infrastructure to service communities where they live and work,” added Sisulu.

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