Date:10 December 2016 - By: Kaizer Nengovhela
Traditional leaders from around the province highlighted the problem of illegal dumping during a two-day Natural Resources Management Capacity Building Programme held at Matsila Guest House last Tuesday and Wednesday (29 to 30 November).
During this seminar, the former premier of KwaZulu-Natal, Dr Zweli Mkhize, urged traditional healers not to chop down indigenous trees for herbs. He also encouraged poor communities to start community bakeries, brick making and other projects in order to create jobs. “Traditional leaders should work hand in hand with ward councillors to ensure better service delivery and people should stop vandalising properties,” said Mkhize.
“The burning down of more than 20 schools in the Vuwani area was a shining example of what needs to be ended in terms of vandalism. As leaders of the communities, traditional leaders should unite the people and stop tribalism, so we all [can] work towards the development and bettering of our society,” Mkhize further added.
The director of the Vuvha-based Dzomo la Mupo Project, Mrs Mphatheleni Makaulule, said traditional leaders should stop the deforestation that is rife in villages. This deforestation, she explained, contributes to the communities’ being left without a source of water because springs and wells dry up. “We have built a nursery of indigenous trees and we want to plant them on the banks of the rivers, schools, traditional leaders’ offices, and in townships,” Makalule said.
One of their major challenges, according to Chief Livhuwani Matsila, is that most of the rivers were polluted by disposable nappies which then flowed down the rivers to dams, causing a health risk to all the communities. The contamination of drinking water in the dams may lead to a cholera outbreak, which is of grave concern to the traditional leaders, while mosquitoes coming from the waste may cause illness such as malaria.
He said it was the responsibility of traditional leaders and the community to embark on an Adopt a River Programme to remove all the dumped nappies and waste from rivers and dams.
This project is supported by the Department of Environmental Affairs, specifically to instil a culture of responsibility and accountability for the proper management of natural resources among traditional leaders. It is a three-year programme and the implementing agent appointed by the Department of Environmental Affairs is Livhuwani Matsila and Associates.
Photographed after the seminar was, from left to right, Chief Livhuwani Matsila, Dr Zweli Mkhize, Thovhele Vho-Vele Kutama and Aaron Mahuwani.
Kaizer Nengovhela started writing stories for Limpopo Mirror more than a decade ago, in 2 000. Prior to that he had a five year stint at Phala-Phala FM as sports presenter. In 2005 Kaizer received an award from the province's premier as Best Sports Presenter. The same year he was also nominated as Best Sports Reporter by the Makhado Municipality. Kaizer was awarded the Mathatha Tsedu award in 2014.