“I will not allow my ailing parents to be moved from the home they built more than forty years ago before Thulamela municipality compensates them,” said Hebron Makhado.
The Makhado home is one of six affected by a road cutting through Muledane village near Shayandima township.
The homes are built with bricks and roofed with asbestos. Some are wire fenced and have mango trees in their yards.
The new tar road cuts through Muledane village and links with the R524 (the main route through Thohoyandou). Construction started in January 2019.
Muledane residents used to occupy very large pieces of land, but moved when water, electricity and road infrastructure was put in place in 1991. The affected families are now once again expected to relocate, metres away from these original homes.
The municipality is not offering any help or compensation to the affected families.
Three families relocated in January. The remaining three families have vowed not to move. Seventy-four residents are supporting their demand for compensation before relocation.
Zwiitwaho Ramanyimi, spokesperson for the concerned group of villagers, said: “Yes it is a good idea [the tarred road] but we cannot allow the affected to relocate before compensation.”
They have sought the services of Mathivha Attorneys but are struggling to raise the necessary funds for legal representation.
Ndwamato Tshiila, spokesperson for the municipality, said: “We deal with the project steering committee. What the concerned group is saying is an old story. The steering committee is aware of our agreement.”
But Erick Mphephu, one of the steering committee, said that they believed that the families should be compensated, but “the municipality is not willing to compensate the affected group”.
“Look, my ailing parents cannot build new homes for themselves. The municipality should first build them houses and compensate them for their fruit trees and the inconvenience caused,” said Makhado, whose father is 90 years old.
Violet Munyai says she has lived in her house for more than three decades. “My husband died long ago and my 26-year-old child is not working, so we cannot afford building costs,” she said.
The road will pass right through her homestead of three buildings. She said one building, constructed from homemade bricks, is already cracking because of the earth moving machinery used in the road construction.