The tribal chief of a community in the Limpopo province lost her Pretoria High Court bid to stop construction at a local school, as the company that is doing the work did not make use of the custom of randomly picking out identity documents dropped in a box as a means to select workers to do the job.
Kgoshigadi Maila, leader of the Maila Mapitsane village, is upset that this custom called “Huduwa” and which she said had been in use since 1993, was ignored by the Pitsi Primary School and by construction company Mbahleni Trading.
She stated in court papers that her subordinates were more furious that they were overlooked.
“The disgruntled people are causing riots and are threatening the other contractors. The school’s classes could be disrupted,” she said.
Maila asked the court to interdict the construction company from proceeding with work on the classrooms, so that the matter could be resolved.
According to her she was approached by the chairman of the school regarding the proposed refurbishments at the school last year, which she claims is on tribal land. The project is sponsored by Eskom, which appointed Mbahleni as the contractors.
Maila said she gave her blessing to the project, as long as the Huduwa rules were complied with.
She later heard that the project had started and that people had been selected to do the work without going through the Huduwa process, which caused an outrage.
Chairman of the governing body, Segwaya Maepa, said when private companies (Sasol in this case) enter into an agreement with a community to have work done, they do not follow the Huduwa method.
According to him the project is already four months under way and it is only running for 6 months. It would thus not make sense to cancel the project at this stage.
The court turned down the application without deciding on the merits of the case.