The taxi rank at the Eltivillas shopping complex. Taxi drivers, commuters, and those running food stalls have to buy water as none is available from the taps. Photo: Bernard Chiguvare.

Eltivillas shopping complex has been without water for a long time

News - Date: 16 May 2024


Both the formal business sector and informal traders at the Eltivillas shopping centre are at their wits’ end because of the ongoing water shortage. The only public water tap that used to supply water to some of the small business owners broke a year ago and has not been repaired.

Business owners complain that they have to buy water from people selling it around town. Many claim their businesses are struggling as they barely make enough profit to cover the cost of water.

Limpopo Mirror visited the shopping complex on Wednesday, 8 May. About 200 metres away from the Eltivillas taxi rank is a broken public water tap. Petros Thulare was busy washing a car next to the tap. “I am able to wash just a few cars a day because I can’t afford to buy much water from the sellers in town,” said Thulare.

Rhulani Nkuna, who runs the Masala Car Wash, said the tap close to his business had gone dry a long time ago. For almost a year, he has been buying water for his business. On average, he uses about 5,000 litres of water per week, paying R75 for 1,000 litres. “I am realising that the business is struggling as I keep buying water. We have tried to engage the municipality, but to no avail,” said Nkuna.

A 46-year-old lady from Madombidzha who runs a food stall at the taxi rank said her business required a very clean environment. “I sell pap and stew every day. My customers need to wash their hands and drink clean water. Our customers are commuters and taxi drivers, so we have to maintain hygiene to compete for customers,” she said.

The lady has been in the business for more than 10 years, and her food stall provides an income for her and her three children. She is struggling to cope with her monthly expenses.

A stone’s throw from the food vendor is another lady who takes care of the public toilets at the taxi rank. She said she had closed the female toilets because she could not afford to buy water to clean both the female and the male toilets. “I decided that both males and females must use the same toilet. Fortunately, the toilet is divided into smaller compartments, and each compartment has a door, so anyone using the toilet has to close the door,” said the 54-year-old lady, who took over the business from her late husband in 2016.

Another businessman running a grocery shop, who preferred not to be named, told Limpopo Mirror that his workers had to buy drinking water from other shops, and he was not happy about the situation.

Questions were sent to the Vhembe District Municipality, asking when the situation would be addressed, but after a week we are still waiting for a response.


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Bernard Chiguvare

Bernard Chiguvare is a Zimbabwean-born journalist. He writes mainly for the online publication, Groundup.

Email: [email protected]