Water dept calls in the big guns to improve services

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) has appointed two State entities to support it in its work of delivering effective water and sanitation services to the public.

At a media briefing on Tuesday, Water and Sanitation Minister Gugile Nkwinti said after assessing the situation at the department, a task team came up with a model of service delivery designed to ensure effective planning in the implementation of projects, informed by professional assessments of the work that needs to be done.

Nkwinti announced that DWS has appointed Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority (TCTA) and the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) to be programme managers of bulk water supply projects of the department.

The Minister said the appointment of the two entities will ensure that the department has people who understand the sector because both entities have a history of managing big water projects.

“We want the public to see that we’ve actually listened... Take Giyani, for example, where a lot of money has been spent but people have no water. Our assessment over the last couple of months is that the real problem is not the money but management,” Nkwinti said.

In addition to the appointment of the two entities, Nkwinti said they have restructured the department to improve the efficiency of management.

“We have corrected that so that now we have micro-management and provinces responsible for tactical and operational services,” said Nkwinti.

TCTA will provide programme management services on the following projects: De-Hoop, Mzimvubu, Loskop, Xhariep Bulk Water Supply and Clanwilliam.

DBSA will perform programme management services on the following projects: Giyani Water Project, Nandoni Nsami Pipeline, Nwamitwa Dam, Tzaneen Dam, Polokwane (Ebenezer and Olifants) and Vaal Gamagara Project.

Nkwinti’s announcement is in line with the announcement he made in his Budget Vote speech, when he introduced his turnaround strategy to improve the optimal operations of the department, and to ensure there is value for money for poor and marginalised communities.

Access to clean drinking water 

According to the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) and National Planning Commission (NPC), in 1994, only six out of 10 South Africans had access to clean drinking water. Today, nearly nine out of 10 South Africans have access to clean drinking water.

The percentage of households with access to improved sanitation has increased from 61.7% in 2002 to 82.2% in 2017. The percentage of households without sanitation or who use the bucket toilet system has also decreased from 12.6% in 2002 to 3.1% in 2017. – SAnews.gov.za