Pretoria - Villagers of Mulenzhe in Dididi, outside Thohoyandou, are livid that they are forced to put their lives at risk and share the water with crocodiles at the Nandoni Dam.
Angry residents said the shortage of water in the area left them with no choice but to share the water with crocodiles.
One of the villagers, Humbelani Mudzanani, 25, was killed by a crocodile while having a bath in the dam on New Year’s Day. She was buried on Saturday.
Part of her body was found the next day 400m away from where the crocodile devoured the rest of her body.
Mudzanani had left her home with a bucket to collect water and take a bath. She never returned.
The incident has since left the community seething with anger over the lack of service delivery.
In 1999, the village was meant to benefit from the collapsed R3 billion water project which was abandoned in 2005, due to widespread corruption and looting.
Last year four people were eaten by crocodiles while either taking a bath, doing laundry or getting drinking water.
The councillor in ward 19, Philip Munyai, said he could count six of those he knew from the area who had been eaten by crocodiles. He said: “The community is very angry because their loved ones are being eaten by crocodiles. The Nandoni Dam is built in their soil, but they don’t have drinking water.
“As a ward representative together with all structures, we will have a meeting after the burial to try to find a way forward because right now we are focusing on burial arrangements.”
Another community leader, Godfrey Sithomola, could not hide his anger at incidents of community members being eaten by crocodiles. “We have been on service delivery protests for years now just for the government to provide us with water. We have been engaging with the Department of Water and Sanitation, and they keep promising…
“Just recently after another death, they promised to bring the community water tankers. Why can’t they just connect pipes to Nandoni Dam and serve this community with water?”
He vowed that if the government did not do what was promised, they would take to the streets for more service-delivery protests.
“They have left us without a choice but to fight fire with fire,” Sithomola said.
Mudzanani was described as a shy person who kept to herself.
Family spokesperson Mudzunga Mmbengeni said the funeral was sad, but was grateful for the support of the community members who came to support the family at such a difficult time.
“The family is very sad because she was the breadwinner at the house. But what is more sad is that she died in a horrible way.”
Munyayi said the Limpopo department of economic development and tourism, which is also in charge of environmental affairs in the area, was still searching for the crocodile to destroy it, but with no luck.