R300 mln grant for

2011-09-23 00:00

UMGUNGUNDLOVU District Municipality (UMDM) has secured a R300 million grant from the Netherlands-based Facility for Infrastructure Development (Orio) to help provide better water service in its six municipalities.

Mayor Yusuf Bhamjee and municipal manager Sibusiso Khuzwayo said the grant award is a quantum leap for UMDM because its core function is to distribute water and sanitation for the rural uMshwathi, Mpofana, uMngeni, Mpendle, Mkhambathini and Richmond municipalities.

“The Orio grant, funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, finances the development, implementation, construction, expansion, operation and maintenance of public infrastructure in developing countries,” said Bhamjee.

He said the application for the water lifeline project came about through the UMDM identifying the issue of limited water supply in the Umgeni River supply system and its limiting effect on local economic development.

Some of the infrastructure is 60 years old, he said, and addressing the loss of water through leaks and burst pipes will help the district provide basic services and unlock development, he said.

The first tranche of R15 million is for the development phase and will involve replacing asbestos cement pipes, which are deemed illegal, and water services extension in uMshwathi and Mkhambathini areas, which will benefit 20 000 mostly indigent households.

Bhamjee said that on completion of the development phase a further R125 million will be granted for the implementation phase. This will be augmented through the provision of R160 million counter-funding provided by the district itself.

The project is expected to improve water services to about 450 000 people.

The UMDM competed against 90 other international and local submissions, including other South African municipalities and metros, to secure the funding.

Bhamjee said interruptions in the water supply to Hilton and Howick will become a thing of the past when the project is completed.

thobani.ngqulunga@witness.co.za

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