KZN ramps up water delivery plans

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala says the provincial government is redoubling efforts to provide water and other basic services including electricity, sanitation, roads and internet access.

Zikalala was addressing scores of community members during an engagement at Mzwandile Mhlawuli Sportfield in uMzumkhulu.

The Premier launched a water master plan and borehole intervention programme aimed at alleviating water shortage in rural communities.

On Tuesday, Zikalala inspected and commissioned a borehole at KwaSkeyi, a rural community in Highflats. The Premier also drank the clean water flowing out of the borehole during the launch of the province’s Water Master Plan and Borehole Intervention Programme.

The provincial government said the water master plan spells out the water related challenges and outlines the short, medium- and long-term solutions.

As part of the medium-term measures, the provincial government - through the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs - has built 250 boreholes in six districts, namely Amajuba, uMkhanyakude, Zululand, uMzinyathi, uThukela and Harry Gwala.

“We are pleased that the launch of these production boreholes and production pumps occurs as we conclude Public Service Month and Heritage Month. This is a testament to government’s commitment to fulfil the constitutionally enshrined right to water, which is guaranteed in our Bill of Rights.”

Zikalala said government has a keen interest in ensuring that everyone, especially those in rural communities, also taste the full benefits of freedom by ensuring that they receive basic services like water and decent sanitation.

“Water is life. It is a precious resource we cannot survive without. We cannot grow the economy and create employment without it. It is necessary for agriculture and is always at the heart of economic development. With the advent of COVID-19, we also saw water becoming central in fighting the pandemic, which first announced itself in KwaZulu-Natal in March 2020 (sic).

“Our prevention strategy for arresting the spread of the infectious virus has been based on strict hand hygiene by washing hands regularly,” Zikalala said.

Other major water projects in KwaZulu-Natal include the uMshwathi Bulk Water Scheme (BWS) launched in November 2020 at a cost of R500 million; the Lower uMkhomazi BWS, Umgeni Water, which is estimated to be completed in 2023; the Cwabeni Project, which will be completed in 2022, and Stephen Dlamini Dam, estimated to be completed in 2023.

Zikalala said once completely developed, the uMkhomazi Water Project will be the largest water transfer scheme in South Africa, at an estimated total cost of R23 billion. 

“The water master plan is one of the clearest indications by our government of our commitment to building better communities by delivery that is tangible, demonstrable and measurable. This provincial water master plan lays out all the facets of that requirement and will be a test of our mission to build a capable developmental State, which adequately addresses the needs of our people in its delivery of quality, sustainable services. The plan will require no less than R150 billion in the next 10 to 15 years,” the Premier said.

Zikalala was joined by the MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Ravi Pillay; MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development, Bongi Sithole-Moloi; MEC for Social Development, Nonhlanhla Khoza; MEC for Health, Nomagugu Simelane; MEC for Human Settlements and Public Works, Jomo Sibiya; Provincial House of Traditional Leaders chairperson, Inkosi Phathisizwe Chiliza and local leadership. –