Cyril Ramaphosa and the Defence Minister have given the greenlight for SANDF to assist in efforts to urgently rehabilitate the Vaal River system. File Image: IOL

PRETORIA - President Cyril Ramaphosa and Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula have given the greenlight for the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to assist in efforts to urgently rehabilitate the Vaal River system, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said on Wednesday.

“We are dealing decisively and urgently with the water crisis in the Vall River system. Our immediate focus is to mobilise short-term financing by reprioritising funds and increasing capacity. I have asked the president and minister of defence for the military to assist with engineering and other expertise to resolve the crisis in the Vaal River system,” Mboweni said in his maiden Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) presented in Parliament.

“I am happy to report that approval has been granted. The generals in charge have already started working on solutions. Water is critical. Current water models are not working in many cases and we need to consider new ideas and models.”

Mboweni referred to the Giyani Water project in Limpopo as “a cesspool of corruption, plagued by malfeasance”.

“The challenges there range from a complete disregard for supply chain rules, to poor contract management, resulting in irregular expenditure. It I clear that a new delivery and financing model is required to provide water services to communities. A key element of the new approach will be a stronger focus on project management and contract governance to ensure that projects, such as the are fit for purpose and maximise value for money in the water sector,” said the former South African Reserve Bank governor.

At a press briefing ahead of the MTBPS presentation in Cape Town, Mboweni told journalists that he has asked the director-general at National Treasury to work with the national department of water and sanitation to ensure that appropriate action is taken against implicated officials.

In his presentation in Parliament, Mboweni said Ramaphosa has undertaken to travel to Giyani “to see exactly what has happened and what needs to be done”.

African News Agency (ANA)