Children drink water from a communal tap. Picture Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)
Children drink water from a communal tap. Picture Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)

No running water for 425 000 homes in KZN, report finds

By Vernon Mchunu Time of article published Jun 1, 2021

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DURBAN - ABOUT 425 000 families remain without clean running water across KwaZulu-Natal, according to recent findings by the Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Department.

In addition, the department has found that R11billion will be needed to repair water, sanitation and elctricity in the province.

The “Condition Assessment of Existing Infrastructure” report, which cost the provincial government R100 million to compile, was part of the KZN Water Master Plan, said Cogta MEC Sipho Hlomuka, in his 2021/22 Budget speech.

The assessment was undertaken in the context of “new” backlogs arising from degeneration of existing infrastructure, he said.

“About 15000 infrastructure sites or installations were physically assessed and 75 000 condition assessment reports were produced and digitally captured regarding the various components at these sites,” said Hlomuka.

“The bottom line is that approximately 425 000 households in this province still lack access to water via installed water infrastructure.

“We have identified the municipal wards where access is most limited and our provincial Water Master Plan directs our efforts and resources specifically to these areas. Armed with such a comprehensive planning tool (Water Master Plan) and a determination to implement it, we would like to assure Dumisani Kubheka from Ward 23 of Newcastle municipality, who engaged us on water and sanitation issues in his community during a recent public meeting in the area, that we are already attending to his concerns.”

While the department could not afford the required R11bn, it said the assessment that had been conducted would assist in terms of lobbying for funding.

Reprioritisation of budgets would also have to be done in order to meet the urgent water service delivery expectation by households, the MEC said.

“We have made available a grant of R84m to various water service authorities to accelerate the delivery of water in some hot spots.

“This included acceleration projects in Ugu district, focusing on the Mtamvuna pump station upgrade of electricity supply to the value of R14m; the installation of the salt containment berm on the Umzimkhulu River in Ugu district; an additional 30 boreholes for Harry Gwala district to the value of R15m; an upgrade of water to the royal palaces to the value of R1.9m: and another R2.3m for Amajuba district to address urgent water challenges in eMadlangeni and Dannhauser,” said Hlomuka.

Cogta recently launched a R20m sanitation project in Newcastle’s ward 23, through which 300 local households would directly benefit, he said.

“We are also upgrading the Madadeni

Waste Water Treatment Plant, which will see the plant doubled in size. All of this will pave the way for renewed development in the townships of Madadeni and Osizweni.

“In light of recent power cuts and the need to invest in alternative energy, municipalities will be assisted to develop alternative energy policies, benchmarking against the eThekwini metro, which is aiming to reach a target of 50% alternative energy self-generation by 2030 and 100% by 2050.

“A budget of R447m has been committed by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy for electricity projects in 2021/22. An interdepartmental committee has been set up to monitor these projects and fast-track their implementation,” Hlomuka said.

THE MERCURY

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