The offices of the Sekhukhune district municipality in Limpopo temporary closed after angry residents emptied buckets of human waste on the premises, including in the office of the municipal manager and the executive mayor.
The incident reportedly happened last Thursday. Senior officials at the municipality, who spoke to The Citizen on condition of anonymity, said “it was a normal working day when, suddenly, angry residents stormed our offices and ordered everyone to leave”.
“The incensed residents were armed with an assortment of dangerous weapons such as machetes, pangas, sticks, picks and buckets full of faeces,” said one official.
Everyone obeyed out of fear. “Those who did not cooperate were slapped and sprayed in the face with pepper spray.
As we left through the main entrance to the building, the passage and offices, including that of the municipal manager and mayor, were soiled with human waste. The pong coming from the building was unbearable,” said the official, who is still terrified.
The Citizen learnt that the angry community members went on the rampage after management hired outside truck drivers at a local water project in Moutse at the expense of locals.
Moutse is a sprawling community straddling Mpumalanga and Limpopo. The project was started and funded by the department of water and sanitation and Lepelle Northern Water Board.
Lepelle is a state-owned water utility, providing water on behalf of the department of water and sanitation (DWS) in Limpopo. On Valentine’s Day 2019, then minister Lindiwe Sisulu made R143 million in drought relief available to the area.
The project included the drilling and refurbishing of new and old boreholes, the erection of stands, the provision of JoJo tanks and the purchasing of 20 water tankers to deliver water to the community on a short-term basis.
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At the time, the former minister had said the project would be mostly labour-intensive and benefit local unemployed people.
Speaking to The Citizen on Friday, Thomas Masango of Motiti village said pandemonium broke out when the municipality deviated from the minister’s plan, which was to favour local Moutse unemployed men and women.
“When the municipality decided to appoint people full-time, they did not call us for the interviews. We were baffled to learn they have appointed people from Marble Hall, Johannesburg and other areas,” Masango said.
One resident warned if the recruitment process was not changed, they would make the area ungovernable.