Women protest naked for water [VIDEO]
Petanenge Women strip down in their cry for water ...show more
30 August 2012 | Tshegofatso Ngobeni
Petanenge women protested at the Greater Tzaneen Municipality, where they removed their clothes, pleading for water yesterday.
The women between the ages of 20 and 80 years decided to leave the men at Petanenge Village and travel to the GTM.
At the scene, the women stripped to their underwear singing songs implying their demands for water at Petanenge.
The women said that their purpose of stripping naked was to demonstrate the pain they experience from their lack of water.
One of the women, said, "We are naked, we want water and we want them to consider us. We will sleep at the Municipality until Machete comes out".
The women alleged that Norman Machete, from the Mopani District Municipality, had promised the community a contractor, who should have arrived last week Friday.
They said that they were frustrated by the lack of water, as they could not bath, drink water or even cook.
The women allege that for them to access water, they have to pay a bakkie R100 to R150 for 20 litres of water which they say does not last long.
Mopani District Municipality Spokesperson Neil Shikwambana said that three boreholes were erected at Petanenge last week. Shikwambana also emphasized that illegal connections and the theft of connectors had led to the lack of water in Petanenge.
He urged Petanenge community members to report those responsible for theft.
Police addressed the women and urged them to dress up or risk being arrested for public indecency and intimidation.
Tzaneen Station Commander Brigadier Diana Mashele addressed the women. She urged the women to put their clothes back on. Mashele requested that a selected few of the women speak to the GTM and that those remaining return to Petanenge.
Mashele also asked the women if they had applied to march. The women failed to answer.
They told Mashele that they were once arrested at Ritavi Police Station and their case was then referred to Polokwane where they were found to be not guilty. The women said that they felt unfairly treated and intimidated by Mashele as they were not fighting and only wanted water from the Municipality.
After speaking to the GTM, the women said that they would meet with the Mayor and the MDM representatives at the Nkowankowa Community Hall at 16:00.
The women were allegedly told that the Mayor would meet Hosi Mhlaba, which the women refused to as they feel that Mhlaba ignored their cries.
There was further dispute concerning the venue, as the women demanded that they be addressed at Nkowankowa community hall. The GTM said that they would meet with Hosi Mhlaba and then with the Petanenge community at Nkowankowa community hall thereafter.
The men at Petanenge refused to go to Nkowankowa community hall and stated that they would rather be addressed at the Petanenge bridge. The women were addressed by members of the GTM and the MDM. The media was requested to leave during the discussions and was told that a press release would be sent.
After the discussions the women said that the Mayor was not present and that Norman Machete addressed them. The talks, according to the women, ended with promises from the MDM that the Petanenge community would have a contractor by Friday or Monday at the latest. Petanenge residents have been protesting to get clean water for more than a month.
More to follow…