Ramaphosa 'sorry' as Giyani residents remain without water

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Cyril Ramaphosa.
Cyril Ramaphosa.
Deaan Vivier
  • The Giyani Bulk Water Project has been delayed for years and ballooned in cost from R500 million to more than R3 billion. 
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa visited Giyani on Sunday and apologised to residents for years of delays. 
  • Ramaphosa promised residents that the project would eventually be finalised. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa has apologised to Giyani residents in Limpopo for a long-delayed water project, saying their constitutional right to water has been denied for years.

Residents of Giyani have waited years for the completion of the Giyani Bulk Water Project, which was intended to supply water to 55 villages. 

The project started under former president Jacob Zuma in 2014 and was intended to ease the transfer of water from Nandoni Dam in Limpopo. 

The project ballooned from a cost of R500 million to over R3 billion and suffered the abandonment of the service provider initially charged with building the water system. 

Ramaphosa was in Giyani on Sunday and visited the project site with Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu. 

The president said he saw the project's problems and how the delay heavily affected residents. 

Speaking in Xitsonga, Ramaphosa said that water was a fundamental right, which the people of Giyani had been denied. 

"Water is not only life; it is a right you all have. We accept that all these years, the people of this area have been denied the constitutional right to have water," Ramaphosa said. 

READ | Giyani bulk water project's slow progress raises ire of portfolio committee

The president said Mchunu knew the challenges faced by the country's water system and committed to making changes. 

“He knows the challenges that the water is not moving properly. The minister has promised that progress will be made, and if there are problems, they will find a solution. You have rich soil in this area, and all you need is water," Ramaphosa said. 

Some of the delays that affected the project were litigation and a Special Investigating Unit probe that found various irregularities with inflated prices. 

News24 previously reported that the SIU was investigating the project following allegations related to the appointment of a contractor. 

The SIU sought to recover R2.2bn from the tender appointment of LTE Consulting Engineers by the state-owned Lepelle Northern Water Board.

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