Johannesburg - Government spent over R3 billion on construction of the De Hoop dam in Sekhukhune, Limpopo, President Jacob Zuma said on Monday.
“More than 1000 jobs have been created during the construction period,” Zuma said in a speech prepared for delivery at the opening of the dam.
The event was attended by Limpopo premier Stan Mathabatha, Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa, various MEC's, mayors and councillors.
Zuma said like other rural communities, Sekhukhune residents were excluded from access to fresh water under the apartheid regime.
“Coupled with the fact that the area itself is naturally water stressed, government identified the need for serious infrastructure investment in this region,” he said.
The De Hoop dam, which was the 13th largest dam in the country, would have two primary purposes.
“The first is to supply water to the towns, industries and poorly serviced rural communities in Sekhukhune, Waterberg, and Capricorn districts of the Limpopo province,” said Zuma.
“Secondly, the dam will supply water to the mines in order to help unlock vast mineral deposits, mainly in the form of platinum group metals found in the region.”
The construction of the dam was one of the projects that fell under the umbrella of the Presidential Infrastructure Co-ordinating Commission which was established in 2012 to co-ordinate and fast-track infrastructure projects.
Zuma said previously people in the area had to walk long distances to get fresh water, and the borehole water was insufficient to meet the demand.
“The bulk distribution system connected to the dam will ensure that over a period of time, all the people of this area will be served with an uninterrupted water supply, which is the ultimate goal of government,” said Zuma.
“We have introduced central co-ordination of the work of national, provincial and local government to take forward major projects such as dams, bridges, schools, hospitals, roads, power stations, universities, further education and training colleges and a host of other project that improve the quality of life and boost economic growth,” he said. - Sapa