R4.6 billion scheme to make Polokwane taps flow

70% of households in Limpopo have access to piped or tap water off-site or on-site.

Polokwane in Limpopo will soon become a city of bountiful water following a financial injection of R18 billion from the Development Bank of Southern Africa.

This was revealed by the state-owned water utility, Lepelle Northern Water, in Limpopo yesterday.

Chief executive Cornelius Reuters said: “We have signed a memorandum of agreement with the Infrastructure Unit Fund, a unit of the Development Bank of Southern Africa, towards funding, financing and implementing Phase 1 of Olifanspooort/Ebenezer Upgrade Scheme to the tune of R4.6 billion.

R18 billion

“The overall cost of the entire project is estimated at R18 billion,” said Reuters. Phase 1, entailing refurbishment and upgrading, including optimisation of the treatment plants at Olifanspoort and Ebenezer schemes, has commenced.

Reuters, who is also a civil engineer, said phase 1 is planned for completion by August 2026. This, he said, will solve the water challenges of the Capricorn district municipality and the Polokwane local municipality for good.

The General House Survey for 2019, released by StatisticsSA in December 2020, revealed that only 70% of households in Limpopo have access to piped or tap water off-site or on-site.

NOW READ: Water constraints render Polokwane’s metro dreams a mirage


In 2007, 83.5% of households had access to water. In 18 years, access to piped water declined from 73.8% in 2002 to 70% in 2019. This means that 30% of the 1 621 000 households in Limpopo do not have access to piped water.

StatsSA also revealed that of the households with access to water, only 44.9% have piped water in their dwellings, 28.5% have piped water on-site and 12.2% rely on communal taps for water.

The Citizen found there were still over 60 000 households that fetch water from rivers, streams, stagnant water pools and dams.

Street interviews yesterday revealed that many people doubt whether Lepelle will pull off this massive multimillion-rand project.

Most people said it was doubtful that the utility will deliver the project without corruption. “Corruption has been embedded in the Limpopo provincial administration, especially during the time of former premier Cassel Mathale’s administration,” Phillip Machubeni of Bolobedu said.

READ MORE: Polokwane Mayor dispels allegations of the City owing water money

Read more on these topics

Limpopo municipality water

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits