“We are no longer throwing money at problems and are more focused on bringing on board our full capacity and support, using our water entities and boards, to intervene and to support municipalities. In turn, they must invest on building the required capacity to operate and maintain the water and waste water infrastructure.”
This statement was made by Minister of Water and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane at a pre-Budget Vote media briefing in Parliament
Mokonyane said lack of adequate capacity, skills and revenue generation and collection are common realities in the municipalities where the Back-2-Basics programme is being implemented. The department has set up interventions to support municipalities to deliver water and sanitation services in areas such as Giyani in Limpopo, Madibeng in the North West and Makana in the Eastern Cape.
“Lessons learnt in this process have partly influenced our decisions to review the Water and Water Services Acts to ensure that as a department we do not only intervene once systems have collapsed in municipalities, but we are given the legal mandate to deliver these services where there are inherent challenges.”
80% access to water and sanitation
Mokonyane announced that her department has now delivered access to clean drinking water and decent sanitation to 80% of the country’s population respectively.
Addressing a pre-Budget Vote media briefing in Parliament, Minister of Water and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane, said the department used the Blue Drop and Green Drop reports to identify challenges by working with municipalities to rectify issues and provide support in problem areas. Ordinary communities remain the priority of the department for the supply of water and decent sanitation.
Building a dam with women-owned companies
The Minister also announced the department’s plans for a multi-purpose dam to be built by a women-owned company as part of transforming the water sector industry
“We will soon be able to speak of a dam developed by women; one that will be designed, constructed, operated and maintained by women and women-owned companies and SMME’s. These are the outcomes of transformation we expect to see realised and happening here in our country and during this term of office.”
She said that the department was dealing with the anomalies that had previously characterised the water sector. Steps were being taken to eradicate single-purpose dams that were often used by a few and for recreational purposes only, to the exclusion of communities that lived around these dams.
Relooking dam development
The department will no longer develop dams in which ordinary citizens were without clean drinking water while the precious resource served industries that were owned by a few.
“Over the last twenty-two years, government has built over nine new dams as part of extending access to water for our people. Whereas previously our people were neither consulted nor accommodated as beneficiaries in such developments, presently we are incorporating community interests and participation as a key element in the delivery of water services infrastructure”, the Minister said.
The Minister said to use existing and future infrastructure projects to promote “the development of new industries within the sector and open opportunities for black industrialists to explore opportunities within this sector.
“As the department, working with the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, we have participated and are actively involved in the Back-2-Basics programme being implemented in 27 Priority District Municipalities across the country.”
She said it was unfortunate that in the development of dams in the past, the transformation of the water sector industry was not prioritised. This resulted in the monopoly of majority white-owned companies being the main beneficiaries.