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Poor community speaks on suffering, despite living among rich mineral wealth

The community has been without running water for five years now, as the battle over the chieftaincy in the area and conflict with mining giant Anglo Platinum’s Mogalakwena mine over its responsibility to the community rages on.

The community of Mapela, Limpopo lives in poverty despite being a mining town rich with minerals. Picture: Theto Mahlakoana/EWN.

MAPELA - The mining community of Mapela, outside Mokopane in Limpopo has said while they intend to vote when the country takes to the polls next week, they still lack basic services including water.

The community has been without running water for five years now, as the battle over the chieftaincy in the area and conflict with mining giant Anglo Platinum’s Mogalakwena mine over its responsibility to the community rages on.

Although there are visible improvements in Mapela since the local government elections in 2016, with tarred roads where there was once winding gravel, life is still far from rosy for the community that is home to rich mineral wealth.

Sam Langa told Eyewitness news that the struggle over the customary leadership has hampered the mine’s plans to upgrade the areas as part of its social and labour plans.

He said the struggle for leadership is rooted in a scramble for access to mining contracts, with the community left to fend for itself.

Thirty-year-old Peter Matlou said for the youth, unemployment remains one of the biggest burdens.

However, despite all the difficulties, the community told Eyewitness News that they still intend to cast their votes come 8 May, hoping that the government will attend to their needs.