Water sector needs R573bn pumped into it

2012-04-16 20:10

Cape Town - Water-stressed South Africa needs to invest a massive R573bn in water infrastructure, services and demand management over the next decade, but has budgeted for less than half this amount, government said on Monday.

This gap was a "significant shortfall", water affairs chief operations officer Trevor Balzer told reporters at Parliament.

"If you look at [what is needed across] the total water value chain, you're looking at a figure of R573bn over 10 years."

This included about R394bn for water services; R162bn for water resources infrastructure; and R16bn for water demand management.

"If you look at the current budget allocations, taking into account all of the grant-funded programmes that National Treasury has put in place as well... our 10-year projection is that 44% is budgeted for. You've got a gap of 56%," Balzer said.

Above-inflation tariffs

The R573bn total covered all departmental, municipal and water board infrastructure and services requirements, he said.

Water Affairs Minister Edna Molewa told journalists it was clear a "lot of money" was needed to meet the country's growing demand for water.

Asked if above-inflation tariff increases to help fund this huge shortfall were now on the cards, she replied: "Probably."

Molewa said that when a lot of money needed to be found, "it goes without saying that the cost is likely to be very high. And therefore the charges that have to be paid may also be high".

The department was looking at standardising tariffs across the various sectors, and there was therefore a possibility of cross-subsidisation. This exercise would be completed by the end of the year, the minister said.

Proportional water use in South Africa at the moment breaks down as:

- Agriculture: about 62%;

- Domestic sector: about 27%, of which 23% goes to urban areas and four percent to rural areas;

- Mining: about 2.5%; and,

- Industry: about 10%, of which Eskom consumes about 2% and forestry about 3%.

Looking to the private sector

There is also a provision for the environment - made in terms of the National Water Act - to ensure stream flows and protect ecosystems.

The different sectors pay different tariffs for the water they use.

Molewa suggested there was a possibility of either National Treasury or government subsidising the huge amounts of investment needed in water infrastructure and services, but said it was too early to pronounce on this because discussions were ongoing.

"It's not possible for us to say at this point in time because we have to negotiate... to be able to say that if this is a commodity that's needed by everybody to do development, and you're charging for it way above inflation, for instance, that would strangle development."

Molewa also said government was looking to the private sector to help fund the infrastructure her department needed.

This follows remarks she made last month, when she said her department was hoping to attract foreign investment to help revive its ageing water infrastructure.


A total of 43 wastewater treatment plants were under development in South Africa, and "if we co-funded, we could take the money saved and spend it elsewhere".

Molewa said at the time that an ideal situation would be "going rand for rand" with private investors.

Balzer on Monday said that for new infrastructure, the department alone would need R230bn over the next 10 years. It would also require "in the order of R96bn" for the rehabilitation of existing infrastructure.

A statement tabled by Molewa on Monday, detailing progress made to date by a special task team appointed in June last year to advise on a turnaround strategy for the department, delivers what amounts to a stinging indictment of work carried out by her predecessors.

Among the challenges identified by the 13-member business process re-engineering committee, is that the sector is characterised by a "lack of leadership and management skills; administrative complexities due to multi-level governance; elitist and undemocratic decision-making processes; and... relatively poor institutional performance".

Molewa appointed the team following the auditor-general finding fault with the department's water trading and main accounts.

On Monday, she announced a major project was underway to reorganise water affairs' finance branch, which included the appointment of a new chief financial officer.

  • Sean - 2012-04-16 20:18

    Another F@CKEN JOKE !! These imbeciles were warned many years back to do some maintenance !! Just goes to show how incompetent these imbeciles are !!

      Sean - 2012-04-16 20:19

      This makes me sick , the ship is sinking faster than I thought !!

      Lacrimose - 2012-04-16 20:39

      @Sean - Ship? Submarine is more like it

      Swapie - 2012-04-16 20:50

      No submarine either. That is waiting for new batteries for the past 3 years. Damn thing cost 2,9 billion but need batteries!

      Swapie - 2012-04-16 20:52

      No submarine either. That is waiting for new batteries for the past 3 years. Damn thing cost 2,9 billion but need batteries!

      Lacrimose - 2012-04-16 21:16

      @Swapie - from Star Trek: Kirk - "Scotty, what's left?" Scotty - "Just the batteries. I can give you inpulse power in a couple minutes." Kirk -- "We don't have a couple minutes."

      Eric - 2012-04-16 21:19

      Like with everything else, the ANC regime has done no maintenance in 18 years. Now, everything has to be subjected to a "turnaround strategy"! What an incompetent lot of feckers!!

      Gordon - 2012-04-16 21:21

      Is this adjustment to deal with acid mine water?

      amanda.victor2 - 2012-04-17 01:06

      Come election time the headless chickens will vote ANC again. Votes should be restricted to those who've payed taxes in the last financial year only! Maybe then everyone would register to actually pay taxes (yes taxi drivers!) and find jobs to vote their beloved ANC in.

      mzijimmym - 2012-04-17 07:48

      Sean your apartheid government did absolutely nothing to provide water for the majority of citizens and left the mining industry at liberty to contaminate water and you said nothing!

  • Gideon - 2012-04-16 20:20

    Who needs water.Let's pay more grants.

  • Jason - 2012-04-16 20:24

    Its because of piss poor management of the water system in the last decade that has brought us to this point.

  • Blingani - 2012-04-16 20:27

    Its about time. All the existing infrastructure is pre 94 and it was only for a lower population than current... We need a massive investment of this sector before we have a serious crisis.

      mholthuysen - 2012-04-16 20:31

      Wrong Blingani - the pre-94 system has not been maintained; and all the professional staff been thrown out - now it has collapsed.... so soon no one will have water anymore...

      Sean - 2012-04-16 20:36

      I`ve seen brainless , but this comment takes the cake !!

      IcemanGP - 2012-04-16 20:45

      And yes, the cANCer can set up a costly committee to see if we can bleed water from rocks. Like they did in KZN to try and control lightening strikes. But to the point, they took the money for themselves.

      GuySoskin - 2012-04-16 21:38

      Dude, way to late. We need a structured, efficient investment ever the next 40 years now just to counteract the pillage of the last 10.. Any credible govt could engage efficient and planned measures but Nooooo. That would be to much transparency and discosure.

      skootzie - 2012-04-17 06:34

      Correct me if I'm wrong, but this is what I read from Blingani's comment: 1. "All the existing infrastructure is pre 94" Translation: The infrastructure is OLD (which it is). 2. "and it was only for a lower population than current... " Translation: The infrastructure has not been MAINTAINED/UPGRADED to accommodate the countries growing water demand, and growing population over the last 18 years. 3. "We need a massive investment of this sector before we have a serious crisis." Translation: This amount of money is fully justified because the infrastructure actually NEEDS it; otherwise we're going to run out of water (ie: serious crisis). I could be wrong, but I doubt it.

      Johan - 2012-04-17 08:42

      You are correct but it is not the whole truth. it was not maintained and with the most competent staff thrown out what we have now is the result.

      IcemanGP - 2012-04-17 09:10

      MASSIVE investment, is not going to make it rain more.

      skootzie - 2012-04-17 09:45

      No, but it will provide upgraded sanitation and much needed water to some areas. Of course, none if it means jack if the money isn't spent correctly and if they don't hire qualified people to do the jobs that need doing.

  • mholthuysen - 2012-04-16 20:29

    And we are talking about this since what 10 years - 12 years; no maintenance done - and now it all has collapsed... another success story of what the anc "can do so much more"....

  • jason.joao - 2012-04-16 20:34

    Here we go, a repeat of the Eskom disaster. At the time of the Eskom disaster I heard many people point out that within a few years the same is going to happen with water - and well here it is. They've had 20 years to assess, project, and at least bi-annually adjust projections and budget year-on-year, instead of waiting till breaking point and now scrambling for funding. That goes toward all infrastructure, road, rail, electricity and water. I don't know how much longer we can survive.

  • Polite - 2012-04-16 20:36


      Sydney - 2012-04-16 21:12

      Not when 30% of it disappears into the mysterious void of "irregular expenditure"

  • Polite - 2012-04-16 20:36


      sandy.langenstrass - 2012-04-17 08:08

      @ Polite...had maintenance been properly carried out by experienced people, they might have only needed to use half R573 billion, just to upgrade....and the rest could have gone into employing people that know what they doing(engineers) and to put a number of students into University to make sure we are never short of skilled water management engineers......WATER is a LIFE GIVING requirement...LOOK AFTER IT.

  • IcemanGP - 2012-04-16 20:39

    And what happened to all the treatment plants that were operational before the cANCer took power? And now lay in waste and shambles, and now you want to bleed the citizen even more.

  • Cliff Saunders - 2012-04-16 20:42

    This is standard operating policy for the ANC. Get everyone to panic and while everyone runs around like headless chickens they get ridiculous increases to water tariffs steamrolled through. Ditto electricity. I think you guys give the ANC way less credit than they deserve. They KNOW EXACTLY what they are doing.

      Crracker - 2012-04-16 20:53

      You are probably right. On SABC 2 tonight they showed the deplorable state of police vehicles unsuitable for use because of failure to maintain etc. Nevertheless new expensive vehicles are being acquired. Now all of a sudden according to the news bulletin some commissioner of police somewhere in the police hierarchy will have the situation investigated. One can only shake one's head in disbelief. It is simply too confusing to try to work out what is really going on. Guess the ANC has very good reasons to subjugate the country to secrecy laws and measures and to obliterate potential whistle blowers. But on the other hand they just don't seem to care whether we find out about their failures and dishonesty. Confusing.

  • Piet - 2012-04-16 20:45

    Liars, you need to pump the money into your back pockets!!Li

  • Hadebe - 2012-04-16 20:47

    N who is going to foot the bill, me? Oh no! Not again, 1st it was the electricity, the roads, the grants, the national health system, the extravagance of the politicians, the petrol and now water, jeez!! Do they care about what i need in my shack? Zuma what about a cut on your yearly renovations of your homes? I desparately need to do some renovations on my shack too, as it is now i cant afford it, youre taking every cent from me, at the end il end up earning nothing on my salary but it wil come with something like i owe you R20 295 37, every months. People, i say lets do something about this, before its too late.

      IcemanGP - 2012-04-16 20:53

      Yes, you can vote the cANCer out!

  • Lacrimose - 2012-04-16 20:48

    True to from! ANC's entire rule has lurched from crisis to crisis. Warned, advised, it makes no never-mind. Everything must be totally broken and messed up before someone SAYS something. We still have to wait for the deaths to rack up before someone DOES something. And with water it is so easy - even the Health Dept knows a lot of deaths are a direct cause of poor sanitation but say niks and put all sorts on the death certificates to cloud the issue

      Bless Boswell - 2012-04-16 22:35

      Somehow, it's still the fault of apartheid. Why now, after 18 years of control, are the whites being held accountable for this mess. Had the infrastructure been poor in 1994, it would have collapsed completely by now, but it has not - not yet. It cannot however thrive on neglect and is starting to fail. If only our dark skinned brethren could understand that! Are they blind to the ANCs theft and pillage?

  • Adil Smit - 2012-04-16 20:51

    In CHILE getting the "private sector" involved, has resulted in water becoming almost unaffordable. Also with our water supply in such a crisis situation, we should not even consider allowing FRACKING: it uses astronomical amounts of water, is known to pollute ground water and afterwards the radio-active wastewater is dumped into rivers. It is getting banned in more and more countries and places.

  • Barefoot - 2012-04-16 20:51

    Aowa no no no re bolaya ke batho straight i can't even begin to express my disappointment/dismay/anger in English. do they think we can survive on boiled water alone? even the electricity to boil it won't be always available.

  • sandy.langenstrass - 2012-04-16 20:59

    With the lack of qualified engineers and lack of maintenance, we have huge problems not only in the water supply department but in many other service departments........WHY DIDN'T THE ANC KEEP UP THE MAINTENANCE....but then these people live for today and never plan for tomorrow......if you had to ask me.... that is the one thing that is the difference between the two cultures.....whites are good at planning ahead for tomorrow.

      Stephen - 2012-04-16 21:38

      and now we have a racist - stereotyping

      sandy.langenstrass - 2012-04-17 08:52

      Stephen....I'm no clearly don't understand the meaning of a racist.Just because a person points out a difference in the two cultures, does not make me racist...A RACIST is someone who insults and belittles another culture.

  • Michael - 2012-04-16 21:06

    With effective planning.....guess BEE gets to the best of us. Good Luck. Bunch off racial employment BEE mates. Got a job offer in Europe, like 5min ago, Engineer, so hope you the best, MY beloved country. And believe me, I TRIED IT ALL IN MY BELOVED SA! I wasnt good enough with my white skin, just made it in Europe after 5 days. So cheers, good luck with youre BEE applications.

      skootzie - 2012-04-17 06:46

      And this will continue to happen until only the poorly educated remain, and then SA (the country with the highest potential in Africa) is going to turn into just another backwater on the southern tip of Africa. A footnote in History will read "South Africa, tried and failed"

  • lee.farrington - 2012-04-16 21:08

    Who needs water, while the gravy train is running?

  • Russell - 2012-04-16 21:11

    Thats a whole lot of bulldust, even if that amount was 'pumped in', it would once again be mismanaged and pumped into their own back pockets

  • Russell - 2012-04-16 21:22

    The next time you hear an SA politician use the word 'billion'in a casual manner, think about whether you wanted the 'politicians' spending YOUR tax money. A billion is a difficult number to comprehend, but one advertising agency did a good job of putting that figure into some perspective in one of its press releases: A. A billion seconds ago it was 1959. B. A billion minutes ago Jesus was born in Bethlehem. C. A billion Rand ago was only 27 hours and 12 minutes at the rate our SA government is squandering it (over a billion rand a day??!!)

  • James - 2012-04-16 21:24

    R573 BILLION !?? To put it into perspective... it will take you 18169 years to count to that number. It is also about 20% of our current GDP. How the hell did they stuff it up like this? Foreign investor: "Hmm, I want to invest my money... maybe I'll try SA... oh wait, people drink faeces over there... I'll rather invest in Somalia then"

  • GuySoskin - 2012-04-16 21:30

    The comments already posted and on a daily basis (for daily transgressions of everything that is, well, not well..) say it all. Is there a way to take the collective input for that last (say) 3 months and leverage it. I'm really trying hard not to F....g swear. NO MORE!!

  • Thando - 2012-04-16 21:31

    Th govnmnt shud trim th fat........

      skootzie - 2012-04-17 06:48

      I'm not sure which is worse, the fact that you can't type sentences correctly .. or the fact that I could read it without so much as a pause! *cries*

  • Nomcebo - 2012-04-16 21:50

    Whether we like it or not we are going to pay for this, better late than never. It does not always need to be political, at least our uneducated, polygamist etc. president is doing something about it, which our former educated presidents including...yes white ones failed to do. Even though i must say i'm worried about the handling of funds.

      skootzie - 2012-04-17 07:02

      What did the white presidents fail to do? Last I checked, they gave you a beautiful, FULLY FUNCTIONAL, country with low crime, a good GDP and a WORKING infrastructure (granted it had it's flaws, but at least it WAS working). Yes, apartheid was horrible and a gross crime against humanity but at least the government knew how to run a country. The ANC haven't got the foggiest idea, they're just jumping from stone to stone hoping they don't fall into the, quickly diminishing, water. This has NOTHING to do with the past, it's ALL about the gross ineptibility (not a word, but it damn well should be, lol) of the ANC. They've had almost 20 years to turn this country into something amazing, instead all they've done is make themselves and their "comrades" rich, while leaving their millions of voters out in the cold.

  • Nomcebo - 2012-04-16 21:51

    Whether we like it or not we are going to pay for this, better late than never. It does not always need to be political, at least our uneducated, polygamist etc. president is doing something about it, which our former educated presidents including...yes white ones failed to do. Even though i must say i'm worried about the handling of funds.

  • Nomcebo - 2012-04-16 21:52

    Whether we like it or not we are going to pay for this, better late than never. It does not always need to be political, at least our uneducated, polygamist etc. president is doing something about it, which our former educated presidents including...yes white ones failed to do. Even though i must say i'm worried about the handling of funds.

      Thando - 2012-04-16 21:57

      Remember Eskom, its was said tht it was known for sumtym tht we need 2 upgrade our plants.....but our Diba nd Zizi ignored tht.

  • Mike Purchase - 2012-04-16 22:01

    Shame kagiso you seem jeaulous that you cant achieve what the whities can,the whole world sanctioned us and we remained one of the best countries in the world.Without whities you would starve just like the rest of africa.Look after something and it will look after you.Know what we are getting tired of spoon feeding you okes.

  • Blingani - 2012-04-16 22:55

    like true News24 style.. We bash whatever the current government does no matter what good they do.. This is the most financially transparent country on earth, the Americans and the British say so.

      Ricky - 2012-04-17 08:48

      You trully are a product of obe education bling

  • JohnnoBfree - 2012-04-16 23:34

    Who needs water? Drink Johnny Walker Blue label like Julius and the rest of the ANC cronies.

  • John - 2012-04-17 01:25

    Way under budget.... There are no funds allocated to bribery, corruption, fancy cars and ministerial benefits. Budget should be increase by at least another 40%

  • braamc - 2012-04-17 06:10

    Get rid of this f$%$cken ANC

  • IcemanGP - 2012-04-17 08:30

    The next time you hear a politician use the word 'billion' in a casual manner, think about whether you want the 'politicians' spending YOUR tax money. A billion is a difficult number to comprehend, but one advertising agency did a good job of putting that figure into some perspective in one of its press releases. A. A billion seconds ago it was 1959. B. A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive. C. A billion hours ago our ancestors were living in the Stone Age. D. A billion days ago no-one walked on the earth on two feet. E. A billion Rand ago was only 27 hours and 12 minutes, at the rate our government is spending it. Building Permit Tax Cigarette Tax Corporation Tax Income Tax VAT GST Fishing Licence Tax Food Licence Tax Fuel LicenceTax Petrol/Diesel Tax Hunting Licence Tax Luxury Tax Property Tax Service charge taxes Capital gains Tax Social Security Tax Road Usage Tax Local Tax Vehicle Licence Registration Tax Vehicle Sales Tax Workers Compensation Tax STILL THINK THIS IS FUNNY? Not one of these taxes existed 20 years ago... And our nation was one of the most prosperous in Africa. We had absolutely no national debt... We had the largest middle class in Africa And Mum stayed home to raise the kids. What happened? I hope this goes around At least a billion times. What the HELL happened?????

  • Joe - 2012-04-17 09:35

    What are the odds that they have "as usual" underestimated the budget. Put another 2 to 3 hundred billion onto this figure and we may be close to what it will end up costing.

  • karen.inward - 2012-04-17 09:44

    The obvious answer is to stabilize the population rate.

  • ludlowdj - 2012-04-17 09:47

    Give it time people in a year or so the international community will start calling the death of ANC official mercy killings not murder.

  • Kala - 2012-04-17 10:18

    R573 Billion... Thats about the amount the government squanders each year on lining their own pockets

  • Gavin - 2012-04-17 10:49

    here is a list of things our f'ing government has actually bothered to maintain, be prepared, as the list is detailed and very comprehensive: As you can see, they've been very busy doing sweet f all. If this was a list of things they've cocked up or money that's been stolen, I'd be able to build a bridge to the moon and back.

  • - 2012-04-17 12:04

    This useless & corrupt government can no longer hide from the FACTS! 'Irreparable Damage' by the ANC... RIP South Africa!

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