Water: KZN gets biggest share of grant funding

2013-04-18 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL has received the lion’s share of grant funding aimed at eradicating backlogs in water infrastructure.

Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Department head Nonhlanhla Qobosheane told delegates of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) at the provincial legislature yesterday that the government had allocated the province close to R1 billion to wipe out its water infrastructure backlog.

“The investment for water amounts to R972,25 million,” ­Qobosheane said.

The funding comprises R267 million from the new Municipal Water Infrastructure Grant (MWIG), R593 million in regional bulk infrastructure grant funds, R25 million in accelerated community infrastructure funding and R87 million in water schemes transferred to the municipalities.

She said the province was the main benefactor of the newly introduced MWIG.

“KwaZulu-Natal received the biggest share, totalling 30,1% …” Qobosheane said.

The new grant will be targeting 23 district municipalities identified by the cabinet to provide interim relief water supplies to rural households, and 10 of the province’s districts, including uMgungundlovu, have been included.

The breakdown of funding from the MWIG is as follows:

• Ugu R21 million;

• uMgungundlovu R15 million;

• uThukela R14 million;

• uMzinyathi R16 million;

• Amajuba R15 million;

• Zululand R37 million;

• uMkhanyakude R27 million;

• uThungulu R57 million;

• iLembe R49 million;

• Sisonke R13 million.

Fourteen percent of the population of KwaZulu-Natal are without piped water.

Qobosheane said the major challenge for the province was to ensure the provision of bulk infrastructure.

She estimated the cost to eradicate the backlogs at R21 billion.

Democratic Alliance MPL George Mari welcomed the report.

“This additional funding must be spent where it counts. It must be used to prioritise water supplies to rural areas of KZN where women and children still walk long distances to fetch water from rivers and springs, often at great risk.”

Mari said another priority should be the provision of bulk services to allow housing developments to proceed.

“There are numerous housing projects that have stalled due to the lack of bulk water.”

Mari urged the province to allocate the funding wisely and said municipalities should work towards providing water reticulation to homes, particularly in rural areas, so that revenue can be generated.

• mayibongwe.


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