Mthatha Express

Planning to tackle water challenges in the EC is vital

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THE Minister of Water and Sanitation, Senzo Mchunu, accompanied by his Deputy Ministers, David Mahlobo and Dikeledi Magadzi, held a series of engagements with DWS Management, Eastern Cape provincial leadership, led by the Premier Oscar Mabuyane and the Amatola Water Board (AW) management at the Regent Hotel, East London, on August 31.

The purpose of these engagements was to assess and find solutions to the water crisis afflicting the Eastern Cape.

Issues of governance, delays of finishing water projects, sources of water to supply the province and mismanagement of certain entities, were among the issues stemming from minister’s engagements with different stakeholders.

During the minister’s engagements, Mabuyane raised a point of dissatisfaction on the delays in completing water projects, especially the Mzimvubu Water Project and ageing water infrastructure in the province.

Mchunu told the Eastern Cape delegation that the most important issue is to plan jointly with key stakeholders in the water sector on how to tackle water and sanitation challenges in the province.

AW, led by acting CEO, Zamikhaya Xalisa, requested that the minister intervene on the operation of water tankers, procured by the DWS, as an intervention to supply communities of the province with water where the drought continues.

The minister responded by saying that AW should find a means, in discussion with the municipalities and EC DWS, for these tankers to be utilised and not just gather dust.

For a number of years, the Ndlambe Local Municipality has been impacted by a stubborn drought and water shortages.

The DWS intervened through its Regional Bulk Infrastructure Grant (RBIG), which approved an amount of R80 million for construction purposes, while COGTA has contributed R20 million towards fast tracking of the project and Ndlambe LM forked out R72,2 million of which R65,59 million is for operation and maintenance over a three year period.

On September 1, Mahlobo and Magadzi visited Ndlambe Sea Water Reverse Osmosis Plant (SWROP) to experience the operation of this plant, which is the result of the aforementioned funding.

– ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF WATER & SANITATION

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