Conflicting perceptions over water distribution in Sibasa-Thohoyandou area: interpreting local narratives.

23 January 2012

The state perceives water as an economic commodity, even if its existing policy treats it as a national resource that should be freely accessed for basic usage. Research suggests many residents of the Sibasa-Thohoyandou area in the Limpopo Province, perceive water as a free natural resource that should not be paid for. As a result of this perception, most of the local residents are not paying for water services. In response to that, the municipality is faced with a cost-recovery problem – hence they restrict water reticulation. Residents concede that paying is a last resort because they are in need of water. Research was conducted on this issue after it surfaced as an apparent problem in the local media. The article explores and attempts to interpret the conflicting narratives on water procurement and distribution in the Sibasa-Thohoyandou area.