Proper infrastructure, sanitation a priority for government – Molewa

2013-06-29 13:43

Nine percent of South Africa’s population live in small rural towns and 31% live in rural villages and scattered settlements that have poor infrastructure, Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa has said.

It was for this reason that providing proper infrastructure remained a priority for government, she said today in a speech prepared for delivery in Emfuleni. “We are convinced that quality, affordable infrastructure raises economic productivity, permits economic expansion and allows marginalised households and communities to take advantage of new opportunities.”

She said government had developed and approved 18 strategic integrated projects (SIPs) to support economic development and address service delivery, particularly in the poor provinces. “Today we have gathered here to launch one of these SIPs,” she said.

This SIP programme is a 10-year plan aimed at addressing the backlog of adequate water to 1.4 million households, and sanitation to 2.1 million households. A recent report, she said, had indicated that of the 914 water supply systems assessed, 41% needed attention. Molewa said 55% of 821 wastewater treatment works required serious, critical and urgent refurbishment.

“On-site sanitation systems provided in mostly rural areas have been found to be relatively robust, with inadequate provision for pit emptying.” Water wastage and inefficiencies account for revenue losses of more than R11 billion per year in the municipal sector alone.

“As a water scarce country, government supports water demand measures, including advanced pressure management projects, water leak management and water demand awareness measures,” she said.

“This programme seeks to fast-track water licences, expand water-system capacity, speed-up build programmes and address backlogs projects to provide new infrastructure.”

It also seeks to rehabilitate and upgrade existing infrastructure for development of water resources.

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