‘Sabotage, vandalism’ disrupt Giyani water project

Giyani water project marred by vandalism and delays, Minister Senzo Mchunu assesses the progress in Limpopo.

The highly expensive and much-delayed Giyani bulk water project has been disrupted by vandalism and sabotage of the infrastructure, said Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu.

He was criss-crossing Limpopo’s Mopani region, assessing the protracted R4.5 billion project.

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He acknowledged the delays in the project, which was started in 2014, and said real progress was only made from 2021 onwards.

On a visit to villages that will eventually benefit, Mchunu said he was pleased with the progress made so far.

He added that by the beginning of September this year, Phase 1 of the reticulation project will be ready to provide clean running water to 22 of the 55 villages in and around Giyani.

“There is visible progress and this cannot be disputed. We started with the main pipe after we were told there were no pipes installed in the first place.

“Then we went back to attend to that problem. By the time the president wanted to come here, we had put in a temporary pipe. We later put in a permanent pipe and tested it,” he said.

Although water was available to be drawn through the supply canal, there was a bottleneck because the treatment plant had to be refurbished as it had collapsed three months after completion, Mchunu said.

The amount of water being put through the system now was steadily increasing, he added. The project began in August 2014, with a completion date of 2017.

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The initial budget ballooned from just over R500 million to R2.1 billion. It is now forecast at R4.5 billion. Mchunu will also visit the project to raise the height of the Tzaneen Dam wall, which will cost R500 million, and is about 20% complete.

He will visit Middle Letaba Dam, which has been plagued by allegations of illegal blocking of tributaries flowing to the dam by local farmers.

Mchunu will meet farmers and community representatives who are affected by the situation.