President Cyril Ramaphosa will this week visit the disastrous Giyani Bulk Water project in Limpopo – which has been delayed because of protracted payment squabbles involving the contractor and the department of water and sanitation (DWS).
Both the president and DWS Minister Gugile Nkwinti are concerned that, in spite of having spent R3.5 billion on the project, 55 villages, the town and the farming communities in Giyani still do not have water.
Ramaphosa and Nkwinti are scheduled to visit the project on Friday.
“The president’s visit is part of the Thuma Mina campaign to see things for himself in that part of the country, while at the same time finding the best ways of accelerating service delivery to communities in Limpopo,” said the DWS yesterday.
The Citizen understands that Ramaphosa, who comes from Limpopo, is concerned about allegations that communities in Giyani still compete over dirty water with wild animals, despite the huge funding from government.
Sources in the department, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal, said the president rejected presentations made by Nkwinti and his subordinates in Pretoria on Tuesday, which requested the project be put on hold until the bankrupt department gains financial strength.
This came after the department failed to pay the company delivering the project, Khato Civils, an invoice of R107 million dating back to March this year.
Last month, Khato Civils abandoned the project after the department only managed to pay R63 million of the R107 million owed to the company. The company further claimed the department owed them another R200 million of work still waiting to be quantified on site with the engineers.
Khato Civils CEO Mongezi Mnyani said: “This is not a war. All we needed was money to bankroll our day-to-day activities on the project. Our primary objective is to see people of Giyani having clean running water.
“But we could not do so because our trucks and excavators need diesel. Our employees need a salary at the end of every month. Our subcontractors also need money.
“We have to pay Sars and ensure that we put bread on the table for our families. But instead of paying us, the department opted to play dirty and hold our payment.”
The project started in 2014, after residents told then president Jacob Zuma they were forced to drink water from the Giyani River, which is contaminated with waste spilling from a waste treatment plant.