Sunday, March 22, 2009

(HERALD) Matobo villagers in bid to repair dam wall

Matobo villagers in bid to repair dam wall
Beitbridge Bureau

VILLAGERS from Donkwe-Donkwe and Mangala in Matobo District have mobilised themselves to repair Midlo Dam, whose wall burst three years ago.

The villagers appealed for assistance in the form of specialised structural engineering knowledge, earth-moving equipment and cement for use in carrying out the work.

The dam wall collapsed in 2006, putting on hold various irrigation schemes that had been planned in the area. The dam is also the only source of water for livestock in ward 14.

The heavy rains that have been pounding the area in the past two years have resulted in run-off from the dam, creating deep gullies in which six children have drowned so far.

Speaking in an interview at the dam site on Wednesday, Chief Nyangazonke Ndiweni said there was an urgent need for the dam to be restored as the livelihood of people in the ward depended on it.

"We are lucky that rain has been falling steadily over the past two years, otherwise the water situation would have been critical. We lost a lot of fish that provided nutrition and income to villagers when the dam wall collapsed," said Chief Nyangazonke.

He said what the villagers were doing was a stopgap measure to preserve the little water that was left for livestock.

Chief Nyangazonke paid tribute to the villagers for their efforts.

"We need assistance to repair the dam wall, but I am very pleased that the villagers have taken the initiative to help themselves.

"I am deeply grateful to everyone, particularly Mr Mlangeni Ncube, who has businesses at Maphisa, for offering the use of his seven-tonne truck and Mr Israel Nkomo, a former Zinwa employee, who is supervising the project," said the chief.

Chief Nyangazonke also provided his tractor for use in the project.

Ward 14 councillor Ms Sinikiwe Moyo said there were 1 039 homesteads in the ward and each of them had agreed to contribute five rand to buy food and fuel for the duration of the project. She also appealed to well-wishers who could assist in any way to come forward.

"The people of ward 14 desperately need to have this dam permanently repaired. Most of them rely on their livestock to make a living. Without the water from the dam, their animals will die and they will be reduced to beggars if we ever go for a year without rain," she said.

The villagers said they would welcome aid and were ready to provide voluntary manpower to see the project through.

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