KZN municipalities secure R3.1 billion to improve water infrastructure
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DURBAN - KwaZulu-Natal municipalities have secured R3.1 billion to tackle water infrastructure challenges outlined in the provincial Water Master Plan.
KZN Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC, Sipho Hlomuka, revealed this in his department’s budget policy speech at the KZN Legislature, on Friday.
The provincial Water Master Plan focuses on the construction of new dams, maintenance, rehabilitation of ageing infrastructure, and improved revenue collection.
The plan was presented in January this year to the portfolio committee on local government as a work in progress.
Hlokuma said the funds would go towards the improvement of water infrastructure in the province’s municipalities.
According to the department, the breakdown of this commitment includes a Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) of R1.3 billion, R887-million Water Service Infrastructure Grant (WSIG), and R300 million for Regional Bulk Infrastructure Grant.
It further revealed that R653 million would fall under uMngeni Water for the implementation of the KZN Provincial Water Master Plan.
Hlomuka said the grants would provide a much needed boost to deal with the province’s water infrastructure backlog which sits at R11 billion.
The department said it had introduced a number of policy changes regarding how grants are utilised.
“This includes the proposal for amending the MIG allocation formulae in favour of water, sanitation, access roads, solid waste disposal and cemeteries, understanding that this implies a reduction in allocation to certain other services.
“It also includes the proposal for suspending the practice of “stopping” MIG funds due to municipal under-performance in favour of re-directing such funds to another state institution, to avoid penalising the beneficiary community. Lastly, a proposal for giving priority to dysfunctional infrastructure and areas where no water supply service exists,” he said.
Hlomuka said the finalised KZN Provincial Water Master Plan highlights the importance of continued investment in new water infrastructure across the province.
In his budget policy speech, Hlomuka announced that the department would also be investing R33 million towards accelerated province-wide water interventions.
This is aimed at improving general access to water for both communities and businesses, he added.