Looting mars water services protest

LEEUWFONTEIN – Persistent violent protests over water services in Leeuwfontein and the surrounding villages outside Marble Hall within the Ephraim Mogale Local Municipality took a nasty turn when a truck loaded with fence-rolls to deliver at hardwares was looted on Monday, 25 January 2021.

According to police, the incident occurred at about 03:00 in the early hours of that morning on the Leeuwfontein main road when a driver of company truck, a horse and trailer, carrying rolls of diamond meshes, was jackknifed as he was trying to make a u-turn to avoid the barricades that the service delivery protestors had placed on the road.

Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo, Limpopo Provincial Police Spokesperson, said it was further alleged that seeing that the truck had stuck, the protestors stole the diamond meshes that were fully loaded in the trailers.

Mojapelo said twelve suspects were arrested after they were found in possession of the diamond fence wire-rolls stolen from the truck and would also be charged on public violence while a search for other suspects continued.

“We can confirm that the residents of Leeuwfontein engaged in a service delivery protest. A group of community members allegedly looted the fence rolls from the truck. The fence rolls were said to be going to be delivered at hardware stores. Police were called to the scene and investigations are continuing,” confirmed Mojapelo.

The water services protests started in the surrounding areas affecting New-stand, Moganyaka and Mamphokgo villages last week.

The residents demand that Sekhukhune District Municipality (SDM), as a water authority, expedite the provisioning of water services to the communities.

They complain that the lack of access to water in the areas has been problematic for years and that the district municipality seemed not to care about them.

In response to the paper’s query on the issue of water services in the areas, Isaac Mahlakwane, Acting SDM Mayoral Spokesperson, said the three villages, Mamphokgo, Manapyane and Moganyaka, that are on within the South East side of Flag Boshielo East Regional Water Scheme (RWS) were dedicated their own their own water reservoir and that Flag Boshielo RWS was realizing a high number of unauthorized water connections on the main supplying reservoirs from Lepelle Northern Water plant.

Mahlakwane said there was a dam dedicated to Manapyane community but said to have been built sometime back, targeting the population present then and that the reticulation ended far from new residents.

“A large number of households have developed but there is no extension on the reticulation pipelines…As such the community opted to interfere with the mainline to Leeuwfontein passing the three villages from Letebejane Village. Lepelle Northern Water is currently upgrading treatment works from 8ml to 16ml per day capacity. This is to address the ongoing demand of water supply,” said Mahlakwane.

Thapelo Motseo

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