Farmers in and around Tshilamba, in the Mutale region, are furious with the Vhembe District Municipality for allegedly failing to fix burst sewage pipes and seal off open sewer holes, which they believe endanger them and their livestock. Residents of Tshilamba were furious after a cow drowned this week after falling into an open sewage hole.
Under the condition of anonymity, a local female subsistence farmer claimed that they had been pleading with the government for years to close sewage holes. Even though we have informed the authorities of at least three busted sewage pipes that have appeared in the area of Tshilamba over the past two months, nothing has been done. We can’t even eat in our own homes because the entire place stinks, she claimed.
She continued by saying that in the past, at least five donkeys had perished after falling into the same open sewage pipe. This location, which is next to an open field, is where our kids play. Is the municipality delaying closing these open sewage holes until a person passes away? She enquired.
The VDM and the Thulamela Local Municipality are accused by Mr. Tshifhiwa Negondeni, the chairperson of the South African National Civic Association( SANCO ) in the region, of failing to provide services to the residents of Thshilamba since the Collins Chabane Municipalities were formed. Our township is treated like a village by the two municipalities. We have been requesting that they erect a fence around this area because it is surrounded by villages where many people live and raise large numbers of livestock. Many donkeys and cows are moving around here, he claimed.
Negondeni claimed that they had unsuccessfully attempted to contact the former Mutale Local Municipality’s local offices for the return of their former employees. He continued by saying that the subsistence farmers would not stop allowing their livestock to graze there because of the township when they tried to warn them not to let them roam around the area.
According to VDM spokesman Mr. Matodzi Ralushai, the municipality was hard at work in the area and the drowned cow issue had been resolved on Monday, October 2. The commitment to participatory democracy, which gives citizens a voice, is based on the idea that service delivery must be done collectively. Government, however, also requires their dedication and accountability. Service-delivery difficulties, such as illegal connections and infrastructure vandalism, will also be avoided if we cooperate, he said.