Alex Japho Matlala
2 minute read
28 Aug 2019
6:20 am

Limpopo water crisis to be resolved – minister

Alex Japho Matlala

Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has called on Lepelle Northern Water and the department to urgently attend to the matter.

Travelling long distances to collect water may remain a necessity for the residents of Giyani for some time, due to a protracted payment dispute between the department and the contractor, 11 October 2018. Picture: Alex Matlala

Despite the South African government spending about R42 billion annually on water infrastructure nationally and allocating R3.5 billion to the Giyani water project last year, 108 villages in Limpopo are without basic water supply.

It has also emerged that of the more that 58 million people in the country, about three million have no access to clean, piped water.

A meeting this week between Minister for Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation, Lindiwe Sisulu, and Limpopo’s Lepelle Northern Water Board revealed that over 100 villages in Limpopo do not have clean running water – contrary to what was promised by the ANC during elections.

This despite the fact that, in 2015, former president Jacob Zuma and former water and sanitation minister Nomvula Mokonyane commissioned a R3.5 billion bulk water supply tender to address the water situation in Giyani.

The project was, however, marred by allegations of corruption and the embezzlement of funds. This resulted in Zuma appointing the Special Investigating Unit to probe the allegations – the outcome of which is still pending.

The project later stalled amid a payment spat between the national department of water and sanitation and the company appointed to deliver services, Khato Civils.

Khato Civils eventually abandoned the project because the department refused to pay them.

Yesterday, Sisulu called on Lepelle Northern Water and the regional department of water and sanitation office to urgently attend to the protracted Limpopo water woes.

“We made a promise to them 10 years ago that their lives would be better and we must live up to the promises we made,” said Sisulu in a statement.

Speaking on behalf of the Limpopo provincial government, acting spokesperson Kenny Mathivha said provincial government was not responsible for bulk water supply or reticulation.

“Water is the competency of the national department of water and sanitation. The department has appointed Lepelle Northern Water to deliver bulk water while district municipalities are responsible for reticulation,” he said.

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