The week-long protests by residents of Lenyenye and the surrounding extensions seeking to be provided with clean water for 24 hours a week, were at last placed on hold last Friday. This after protesters were convinced that as a temporary measure residents would be supplied with water which would be trucked into reservoirs from other water sources preferably in Nkowankowa and Tzaneen.
The solution came on the back of aggressive protests last week. As usual it took the residents to become violent first before the politicians sat up in their air-conditioned offices and provided solutions. The entire town was shut down by residents by blocking the R36 regional road and all the streets that led in and out of the township as well all the streets that could be used as alternatives by motorists and taxis. Branches, burning tyres, and overturned dustbins were used as barricades with the toil dumped at the entrance of the satellite offices of the GTM in the township.
In an unprecedented act, workers were prevented from going to work while trying to exit the township, shops were ordered to close while taxis were also stopped from entering and exiting the township. Schooling took a back seat as children were prevented from attending the various schools. Only police stations and the Magistrate’s offices operated.
As usual, the strike started at the local filing station which was ordered to close and tyres were set alight just a stone’s throw from it. On Friday matters took a new twist with proceedings commencing at the offices of the GTM where they started by throwing garbage at the gates before entering and threatening to burn the building to the ground if their demand for water was not addressed.
It took GTM employees who were at work, some convincing as to where the problem with water lies, and some of them were even taken to the empty reservoirs and the areas where the newly installed steel pipeline (which cost R90 million) was tampered with. It is reported that residents were incensed after their ward councillor allegedly said that protesters should bring him containers to fill them with “natural water”.
After this, a meeting was called between the community and the authorities. During this meeting the community said that they would resolve to place the protests on hold and see whether the promises made to supply them with water via water tankers would materialize.
Leaders of the march told the community during the meetings that following their investigations and the subsequent meetings with officials from the district municipality (MDM), trucks would deliver water to the reservoirs in the township for three days a week and water supply would be opened daily according to the sche-dules of operators.