Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Lindiwe Sisulu has confirmed that a new agency to oversee the supply of water across the country will be established.
This followed the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his State of the Nation Address (Sona) last Thursday.
In her speech during the Sona debate on Wednesday Sisulu told MPs that the agency will be up and running soon after a law has been passed.
“The primary responsibility of the agency is to ensure that quality water and sanitation is available to all South Africans and there is a guarantee of water sustainability for the economy. In this regard, the agency will work with municipalities, water boards, financial institutions, the agricultural community and other sector institutions such as mining. This process will bring together some of the sector’s strongest capabilities in a single government-owned entity,” said Sisulu.
She said the establishment of this agency would start operating after the process to pass legislation has been completed.
However, the bill will be tabled in the second half of this year.
She said this would be an important agency in ensuring there was water supply.
Some areas in the country have been afflicted by water shortages.
“The legislation to establish the National Water Resources Infrastructure Agency has, the president will be glad to hear, been completed and will be ready for tabling during the second half of this year, after all the public consultations have been finalised,” she said.
“The agency will strengthen the ability of the water sector to fund, build and operate the large water resource projects on which South Africa depends for its water security. This forms part of the president’s infrastructure investment pipeline worth R340 billion. It will function very much along the lines of the national road network entity, Sanral, but without toll booths.
“This is a much-needed entity to ensure that our ageing infrastructure is properly maintained and that the most far-flung places of our country enjoy the benefits of clean water that you and I enjoy on a daily basis,” said Sisulu.