Fed up Musina residents take to the streets over water problems

A former ward councillor and community leader in Musina, Sewani JC Kaunda, has accused Vhembe District municipality Executive mayor, Florence Radzilani, of complacency and no care attitude towards the people of the area. 

This comes after disgruntled members of the community in border town burned tyres and blocked roads during a service delivery protest last week.

They also overturned rubbish bins in and around the Limpopo town, and blocked the N1 leading up to the Beit Bridge Border Post between South Africa and Zimbabwe. Traffic was brought to a standstill in Musina.

Speaking to African Times this week, Kaunda accused Radzilani of not being honest with the water problems that began on Friday.

“The problem started on Friday where we had a water disaster. The municipality sent an SMS late in the afternoon letting the community know that there would be an industrial strike by the employees of the Department of Water Affairs and Sanitation, and so there would be shortages of water.

“So there was no supply of water to the entire Musina from Friday to late Sunday due to the strike but when we asked as to what was being done about the matter, all the leaders were nowhere to be found,” said Kaunda.

He also accused local councillors of being star- struck and nursing feelings of ANC national leaders, who had been in Venda to campaign for next year’s elections, instead of attending to their needs.

The governing party’s senior leaders, led by president Cyril Ramaphosa, were in Musina over the weekend on a campaign trail.  

“The community was so furious that they went on to blockade the N1 in the centre between Beit Bridge and Musina for cars not to move and all other roads in between were blocked by residents voicing their anger.

“The leadership of the municipality was nowhere to be found. The top six of the ANC was somewhere around the area for an election campaign and all our councillors went there to rub shoulders with them instead of attending to our problems,” he added.

He said the mayor had a meeting with the community on Saturday afternoon to address the situation but did not reach consensus.

The community was later told that the matter of the strike was getting resolved as the Vhembe district municipality and Musina mayor Mihloti Rodoyana had met with the disgruntled group and had a fruitful meeting.

“The problem here is that the water was just closed, not that there was a burst pipe or anything of the sort. We have always had a water problem in Musina. Some people including children have to travel up to 7 km to find some water in areas that have boreholes,” he said.

“I asked the executive mayor that she had promised they had a fruitful meeting. We want to know the outcome of that fruitful meeting so that tomorrow we don’t get embarrassed, and she said it had nothing to do with us but employees that were on strike.

“We want the water authority to come back to Musina because it is run by Vhembe as the district. It’s better if we are serviced by the department of water itself,” he concluded.

Radzilani was heard engaging in a debate with Kaunda on a local radio station on the matter.

“There was a meeting between the mayor of Musina, Vhembe district and the employees of the department. We got where we agreed on matters and came up with temporary solutions so that that the workers go back to work. As we speak, they have gone back to work and everything is back to normal,” Radzilani said.

Meanwhile, last week Eskom was prevented from disrupting electricity to communities whose municipalities were in arrears with the electricity giant. The South Gauteng High Court interdicted Eskom from discontinuing its power supply to the Musina Local Municipality.

This is pending a review application by business organisation Sakeliga, which seeks an interdict to prevent Eskom from implementing its decision to interrupt or discontinue power supplies to municipalities in similar situations.



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