News / South Africa

Alex Japho Matlala
2 minute read
23 Nov 2021
5:50 am

‘We walk 3km’: Water woes still plague Limpopo

Alex Japho Matlala

On Friday, Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu visited the drought-stricken Mopani region to assess the water shortage.

Picture: Michel Bega

The drought-stricken Mopani district municipality in Limpopo might have to ask the Modjadji royal family to make rain in Limpopo, residents said at the weekend as the water crisis continues.

This was after the district revealed to the department of water and sanitation that accessing water was still a huge problem.

On Friday, Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu visited the drought-stricken Mopani region to assess the water crisis.

District municipal manager Quiet Kgatla said that of the 363 drilled boreholes, only 159 had water consistently.

This, according to Kgatla, was because the underground water had dried up and borehole equipment had been stolen or vandalised by thugs.

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In Ximausa village, outside Modjadjiskloof, eight boreholes were drilled and only two were working.

“The municipality has indeed drilled boreholes here but most of them have no water.

“Because of this, our wives and children are forced to walk more than 3km to the fountain to fetch water,” said community headman Patrick Ximausa.

The headman said the situation was worrying because “senior citizens, who cannot walk long distances to the fountain, were forced to dig into their old age grants to buy this important commodity.

Chair for the Ximausa Development Forum, Lawrence Ngobeni, appealed to the municipality to refurbish the existing
dysfunctional boreholes or drill new ones.

About 20km from Ximausa lies a sprawling village called Bode.

In this village, every street has a tap with children splashing each other with water from buckets. Donkey carts are seen transporting water to the next section.

Prominent traditionalist in Tzaneen, Matome Geoffrey Madia, advised communities to take advantage of the torrential rains currently falling in most parts of the province to harvest water in containers for future use.

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Every year in October, the Modjadji royal family comes together to perform a rain-making ritual ceremony called Mophaso.

The family assembles at a sacred place called Thokoleng, where they all drink a homebrewed traditional beer called mphapo.

After drinking the beer, a senior family leader, usually the queen or the regent, speaks in tongues with the ancestors and blows a magic horn, asking for rain to fall.

The family could not be reached for comment by the time of going to press.