10 23 December 2016
“Maheni school dangerous” For five long years the impoverished rural community of Maheni in Thulamela have waited for the completion of new class rooms, which were meant to ease congestion in classes. The project is still unfinished, after the contractor allegedly absconded from the site. The community has done all in its power and in the book to see to it that the remaining work is completed, but it has not borne fruits. This has badly affected the nearly 300 pupils at the school where there is no adequate space for them in classes. The unfinished infrastructure is also posing a danger to the same learners as corrugated iron from the classes is sometimes blown away by the wind. The toilets that were to serve the learners were also left uncompleted and open toilet pits pose a danger as the learners could fall inside and drown as it is the rainy season. The local traditional leader, Chief Tshitereke Nemaheni
said they were very excited when the construction was started in 2011. “We had high hopes that our children would no longer study under trying conditions as we could see it was a state of the art school in our standards as a rural community. We were surprised when the contractor left before completing the work and since then there has been no activity at the school,” he said. “We have done everything to make follow-ups with the department, but all we got were promises that were never fulfilled. We are at a cul de sac, not knowing what to do next. Our community is very angry to such an extent that we nearly did not vote during the recent local government elections. It took some energy to convince them to vote,” he said. Nemaheni further indicated that if government does not respond and finish the building they would be left with no option but to withdraw their children from the school. “This place is no longer safe for our
children. He said that MEC Jerry Ndou visited the school and promised that it would be completed, but nothing has been done so far. SGB chairperson Beauty Manyatshe said that when they took over last year, their first mission was to make a follow-up with the department of education but so far it is only promises. “We are very worried about the situation. This project has taken a long time and we now feel that our government does not care for our children. Our children are not safe and we just hope by opening time next year, the school would be completed,” she said. Limpopo education department spokesperson, Dr Naledzani Rasila said they have not received any complaints about the project. He advised the leaders to contact the infrastructure personnel at their circuit office for clarity. “This has not come to our attention and our advice is that if there are challenges, the circuit will escalate it to the district and then to us if necessary,” he said.
Several issues pertaining to service delivery were discussed during a recent meeting between Mayor Mihloti Muhlope of Musina and senior traditional leader Thovhele Vuzidzhena Nethengwe of the Thengwe dynasty. The meeting recenlty took place at the Thengwe Royal House, outside Tshilamba. The visit formed part of the mayor’s mission to interact with traditional leaders who have been included into the new demarcation boundaries of Musina. Thovhele Nethengwe is one of the five senior traditional leaders who were officially allocated seats on the council of Musina Municipality, giving them the same powers to participate in council meetings as councilors. The other senior traditional leaders allocated seats are Chiefs Hanyani Tshikundamalema, Avhatendi Rambuda, William Mutele and
Elon Manenzhe. Prior to August 3, Musina did not have any traditional leaders officially sitting in and participating in council meetings. Following the new demarcation and disestablishment of Mutale, the municipality inherited approximately 50 villages to form part of Musina. Thovhele Nethengwe said it was an honour for him to have been visited by the delegation from Musina Municipality. “This is a clear indication that the municipality takes traditional leadership very seriously. Our tradition also dictates that no one can bring development to our land without introducing themselves to the traditional leaders. This is the beginning of a good working relationship that will benefit both the municipality and our traditional council.” Muhlope said the visit had paved a way to create a
platform for the municipality to engage traditional leaders on issues related to service delivery. “Traditional leaders are one of our main stakeholders, because a huge portion of land in our municipality belongs to them. It is important to take them on board, so that we can have a common understanding of community development initiatives. The fact that we have allocated them seats on our council is a clear indication that we are ready to work with them.” Muhlope said the municipality aimed to address communication challenges by enabling traditional leaders to understand, negotiate and take part in decision making that affected their communities. “Communication is a key tool for development and social change, especially in a municipality with a lot of rural villages and farms like ours.”
By Elmon Tshikhudo
Chief Tshitereke Nemaheni (with jacket) and Royal Council secretary, Mr Rudzani Nelufule, looking at the open pit toilet which they say are a danger to the children.
Musina mayor visits Thengwe area
Showing the damage at one of the blocks at the school are from left Chief Tshitereke Nemaheni, Vhavenda Vho Solomon Nemaaheni and Royal Council secretary, Mr Rudzani Nelufule.
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