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Source: South Africa News Agency

A total of 544 beneficiaries affected by the construction of Nandoni Dam in the Vhembe District Municipality, Limpopo, have been compensated.

The compensation of beneficiaries follows a visit by Water and Sanitation Deputy Minister, David Mahlobo, to the area in March 2020, where he met with various community representatives in an effort to understand some of their grievances, and come up with solutions to the delayed compensation process.

During his visit, the Deputy Minister recommended that the department should bring the required services to the people in a bid to fast-track the compensation process by setting up help desks in affected villages.

As a result, 10 villages were subsequently assisted and a total of 764 documents from claimants were verified and submitted for processing.

However, the process was halted due to announcement of the nationwide Coronavirus lockdown.

With the country on alert level one, the help desks have since been resuscitated and are in full operation.

“I thank the officials of the department for the hard work they put into this process to find a speedy resolution, and for government to be able to pay the deserving beneficiaries that were affected. The report that I received today is satisfactory and we are indeed pleased that we are implementing the Public Protector’s remedial actions on the matter of payment,” Mahlobo said during his recent visit to Thohoyandou.

The Public Protector recommended that the department revisit the amounts payable for compensation and a review of the rate of payment for fruit farmers, or consider making separate payments for the loss of land rights, fruit trees and loss of production, agricultural equipment and fences.

Mahlobo also heard that there could have been more recipients, had it not been for the fact that some deserving beneficiaries have since passed on due the prolonged process it has taken to pay.

The change of beneficiaries on the claim forms has then resulted in the department’s payment system rejecting the claims, as the names are different from those initially submitted. Another factor is that some beneficiaries’ bank accounts are no longer active and payments were thus rejected in some instances.

The Deputy Minister has ordered that all outstanding verification documents and account confirmations should be collected and delivered to the head office no later than 17 November 2020 for processing.

He appealed to the Nandoni community representatives to once again work speedily with the department officials in making sure that the 305 outstanding payments are concluded before Christmas Day.

“Our objective is to have all payments finalised by Christmas Day but our attitude is such that all beneficiaries are paid out by the end of November this year. The matter of 22 beneficiaries that were overpaid by the department, according to the Public Protector’s report, and should refund some of the money will be handled discreetly and should be concluded by the New Year,” Mahlobo said.

Surveying of communal land completed

Regarding the Vho Thovhele Ramovha claim contained in the Public Protector’s report, the department has reported that the surveying of the communal land has been completed and the size of the land confirmed.

The department said that the process will continue to the office of the Valuer General to determine the actual value of the land. –

MIL OSI Africa