One of the residents at Magulule village, gogo Delphine Mathwasa (90) on her way to fetch water for bathing from a nearby stream. Photo: Thembi Siaga.

Thirsty Elim residents tired of complaining about water scarcity


The continuous lack of water in the Elim area is forcing scores of residents to use dirty water from streams for household purposes. Residents are losing all their faith in the Vhembe District Municipality (VDM), whom they accuse of failing to fulfil its promise to repair and complete several water projects in the area that had been lying dormant for the past five years.

Various complaints were raised by the communities from this area that the local municipality does not value their concerns regarding the supply of water. According to them, several dysfunctional boreholes have not been maintained and refurbished.

With the rising inflation, which is worsening poverty, many residents cannot afford to buy litres of water anymore.

A 90-year-old gogo, Miss Delphine Mathwasa from Magulule village, can only fetch water with the help of her grandchild. They must make more than two trips back and forth to fill her containers from the nearby stream every day, so that she can wash herself and do her laundry. 

“The problem of fetching water for bathing and laundry always gives us a headache. At my age, I can no longer push a heavy wheelbarrow to get enough water from the stream to my house,” she said.

Another resident, Miss Sarah Mavhunda, said that the VDM was failing to provide this basic need to the disadvantaged communities. “We are so tired of complaining about water. We have been crying for many years about it, but it does not help,” she said.

According to the headman of Elim Mabobo village, Nelson Mabobo, the municipality drilled a borehole to supply water from a nearby reservoir five years ago but never completed the project.

“It breaks my heart to see our people being thirsty with unfinished water projects. The borehole was drilled years ago, but these residents have never seen even a drop of water from it. We raised our concerns to the relevant department many times, but with no results,” he said.

The VDM spokesperson, Matodzi Ralushai, said that the municipality had received their grievances. “The municipality is busy addressing the problem. We know about their concerns over the water scarcity in the area,” he said.



Date:30 July 2022 - By: Thembi Siaga

Thembi Siaga

Thembi Siaga worked as an intern during 2021. He assisted with video photography and editing. He also produced numerous small documentaries, focusing on the Vhembe region and its people.

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