With the global platinum market surging in recent years, the Greater Tubatse Local Municipality has prioritised the development of the platinum-rich Dilokong Corridor, with a view to generating infrastructure investment, job creation and other economic opportunities for communities in the region. Phindile Sekome, 23, who shares a small homestead with her grandmother and younger sisters in the Dilokong Corridor in the village of Ga-Kgwete, welcomes development in the area, but not to the detriment of her home or her family’s wellbeing.
In 2004, Lebalelo Water Association were contracted by government to lay approximately 180kms of pipeline for the supply of raw water to mining operations in the area. One of these underground pipes would run adjacent to the homes of five families in the Ga-Kgwete Village, among them, Phindile’s grandmother’s homestead. Phindile recalls how explosives were used to break through the rocky ground, resulting in irreparable damage to property in the vicinity. Burdened with having to patch up the crack-riddled walls, the affected families voiced their grievances to local leadership and the company responsible.
After years of gridlock, negotiations with Labelelo Water Association finally began in 2016, with the successful construction of five new homes that same year. Although Phindile is grateful for their new home, she remains unsettled. Questions persist as to whether the new home built on her grandmother’s land is legally theirs. With no documents to prove this and her grandmother’s current frail state, she worries where, after her passing, they will live if forced to move. And thirteen years since an extensive network of water-carrying pipeline was laid under her feet, Phindile continues to collect the family’s daily supply of water from the communal borehole several metres behind their home.
Phindile Sekome, 23, Ga-Kgwete Village, Limpopo, Eastern Limb