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‘We won’t stop’ — Limpopo villagers ramp up fight for a tarred road

‘We won’t stop’ — Limpopo villagers ramp up fight for a tarred road
The D3810 gravel road was closed by residents of Khakhala, Gawula, Mahlathi, Ndindani and Hlomela over mayor Pule Shayi’s planned visit to Ndindani village in the Greater Giyani Municipality. (Photo: Supplied)

The villagers in the Greater Giyani Municipality have blocked the D3810 gravel road and rebuked the mayor’s efforts at community engagement, saying they are tired of words and demand action, starting with tarring their roads.

‘We will never get tired to fight for our basic rights. It is our right to have access to tarred roads, it is our basic needs. This is a start, we won’t stop, fighting [for] our rights now is wafa-wafa,” said angry resident Justice Rikhotso. 

In April, residents of Khakhala, Gawula, Mahlathi, Ndindani and Hlomela villages in Limpopo’s Greater Giyani Municipality were up in arms, saying “enough is enough”. The root of their outrage is the D3810 gravel road, which they had blocked in protest. 

Their action followed Mopani mayor Pule Shayi’s planned visit to Ndindani to engage locals on the heated road matter. 

They said this proposed engagement was of little value to them – what they wanted was a tarred road, and to drive the point home, vowed that until this was realised there would be no-go areas in their communities for politicians and government officials. 

Limpopo D3810 gravel road

D3810 gravel road were closed by residents of Khakhala, Gawula, Mahlathi, Ndindani and Hlomela. (Photo: Supplied)

It didn’t take long for residents of the five villages to organise themselves through the Limpopo Concern team, a residents’ organisation, saying “it is the time they were waiting [for]”, in a message on their “No Road No Vote” WhatsApp group.

Residents said they were eagerly anticipating the resolution of the municipal management issues and the realisation of their goal – a well-maintained, tarred road that would enhance their quality of life and connectivity within the community.

Some residents were divided over the road blockade, and eagerly awaited Shayi’s arrival in Ndindani, while others were undecided. They complained that they should go to school and work. However, ultimately they all understood the slogan and joined the strike, agreeing that “the struggle continues”. They were resolute that they wanted action, not words.

The blockaded D3810 gravel road in the Greater Giyani Municipality. (Photo: Supplied)

Rumours circulated that the mayor would also address the critical water reticulation problem in the area, but residents weren’t convinced. Over the grapevine it was suggested that the mayor would engage with residents, following an announcement on the Mopani District Municipality’s Facebook page that he would visit Ndindani. 

Read in Daily Maverick: No road no vote’ say angry Limpopo residents in face of chronic service delivery failings’ 

However, the visit was cancelled, reportedly owing to security concerns. Instead, he rushed to Polokwane for an emergency meeting about road-related issues, according to a member of the residents’ WhatsApp group. 

The situation remains tense as residents await meaningful action.

The Limpopo Concern team leaders then took action of their own by writing to the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) and other relevant leaders, requesting a meeting to discuss the state of the D3810 road. Sanral’s general manager of marketing and communications, Vusi Mona, responded:

“Please note that the D3810 is not a Sanral road, it belongs to the Roads Agency Limpopo (RAL).” 

However, Sanral has been instructed by the Presidency and the National Department of Transport to produce a design for an upgrade of D3810, converting it from gravel to a surfaced road, and to undertake its construction. The construction tender was issued in December 2023 and this process is at an advanced stage. 

Sanral expects the tender to be awarded in early May 2024, after which a new contractor will be introduced to local stakeholders to begin the three-month mobilisation period.

Limpopo Concern did not stop there, however.

They also reached out to President Cyril Ramaphosa and Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga, emphasising the urgency of their cause. Their message was clear: If these crucial discussions do not take place, the ANC might not win 50% support in the elections. 

Residents block the D3810 gravel road. (Photo: Supplied)

Locals are demanding that the D3810 road be tarred. (Photo: Supplied)

Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga. (Photo: Gallo Images / OJ Koloti)

The stakes are high, and the wheels of political engagement are turning, but neither the minister nor the President responded.

Asked for comment, the Limpopo transport department’s director of communication services, Tidimalo Chuene, said: “Please note that the Department of Transport and Community Safety has no mandate on provision of road infrastructure… The Limpopo Department of Public Works, Roads and Infrastructure should be able to assist in your urgent inquiry.”

A response to a request for comment from the Limpopo public works department had not been received by the time of publishing.

In the aftermath of the mayor’s decision to cancel his visit to Ndindani, residents remain steadfast, vowing that, should he ever try to make the visit, they will not hesitate to act by closing the road. DM

Israel Nkuna is a ward committee representative at Ward 19 Giyani, Mahlathi village in Limpopo, a community activist, human rights activist, social grants activist and writer. 

Israel will be writing a monthly article in the run-up to the 29 May elections, painting pictures of his village and Limpopo. 

You can email him at [email protected] or call 082 433 8538 /073 036 3220.

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Patrick Chauke says:

    Ramaphosa must come and tell us when is the road start or he can order former deputy president David Mabuza because he is the one who lied to us at Mahlathi Village 5 years ago when he promised the immediate start of the project. Government must come to the reality that they have lied to our uncles and our fathers, we are the the new generation we will fight with all what God has given us to realize the tar road in our lifetime. If it means breaking hands or dying let it be

  • The so called David Mabuza lied in our face an he came with a aeroplane. The RAL in Limpopo has belittled our forefathers before andif they think they are better than us , they must think again cos we won’t stop fighting for our rights and if it means shutting their offices we shall do so. The greater Giyani hav shown us middle fingers before even after we continued showing them support all these years. We were the last villages to receive electricity connection after they diverted the initial plan in 1994 where a substation was built in our area but only for it to Shawela .
    The Greater Giyani municipality will be shutdown should they not bring this tar road . Ikhale vahi mamisa tintiho.

  • Dennis Bailey says:

    Mabuza,you jest? He’s a liar of note. why are you suddenly rebelling? Have you not had five years in which to rebel? And do you really think any politician is going to come to your aid? Most you’ll get is more promises and a few kissed babies. Viva, ANC, viva. Yeah,we get what we vote for even if it’s nothing

  • The ANC has been lying to you since 1994. All they have done was to steal the people’s money. Build a R100 000 bridge in Phalaborwa for R5 000 000. Handed out T Shirts and caps an the people are still stupid enough to vote for them.

  • Roger Sheppard says:

    Dear Justice Rikhotso and Limpopo Concerned – simple resolution to your problem: vote DA! You will get a road! You will not wait 5 more years.
    Here in Howick the mayor asked what some people wanted – a road to school they said. It is now finished! 4 months, from request to finish!!
    Vote DA dear Limpopo!
    [I wonder how many folk in Limpopo read DM!!]

  • Paul Fanner says:

    I’d like to see the benefit/ cost ratio for the project. If I remember correctly, the PFMA requires this study must be done for all capital projects?

  • No road No vote
    #asijiki

  • Ruel Chauke says:

    We are sick and tired because of this morons, we are not going to vote ,
    No road no vote , since 1994 of so called freedom, we are still experiencing gravel road on our area,
    They must be rest assured, this 5 villages we are not going to vote

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