Water and Sanitation Deputy Minister, Dikeledi Magadzi, says municipalities that are failing to deliver basic water and sanitation services and adhere to the national norms and standards, need to be assisted.
Tabling the department’s 2022/23 budget vote in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on Wednesday, Magadzi said the distribution of water and sanitation services is the direct responsibility of municipalities.
However, Magadzi acknowledged that this is proving to be a great challenge, and the department remains ultimately responsible for water availability and security.
She said during the ministerial working sessions, where the department travelled around South Africa over the last nine months, they have seen first-hand the state of municipal water and sanitation services.
“In many areas, we met people who are still waiting to get potable water supply. We have seen many municipalities, where projects run into the 10th year with distribution pipes installed, but there is no water in the taps, or water coming out of the taps is not drinkable.
“In some areas, women and children are still walking to the nearest streams where the water is not safe to drink, and risk being attacked by crocodiles and criminals while trying to source water,” Magadzi said.
On pollution, spillages and sewer running onto the streets and ultimately into people’s houses, Magadzi said the ministry is prioritising the matter and it is moving from province to province to work with municipalities or intervene through Section 63(2) of the Water Services Act, 1997, to assist.
While the Constitution gives the responsibility for providing water and sanitation services to municipalities, the Deputy Minister stressed that it also requires national government support for municipalities and intervention where there is failure.
“As we strengthen our support and intervention role at municipal level, we will not neglect our core responsibilities of developing national water resources, and we are paying close attention to accelerating the planning and implementation of key water resource augmentation projects around the country,” Magadzi said.
The department will continue to support municipalities to develop and refurbish municipal water and sanitation bulk distribution infrastructure through the Regional Bulk Infrastructure and Water Services Infrastructure Grants.
“The obligations on national government to support and intervene at municipal level are further elaborated in the National Water Act and in the Water Services Act. National government must therefore also take responsibility for the decline in water and sanitation services at municipal level,” the Deputy Minister said.
Rand Water strategic augmentation projects
Meanwhile, Rand Water will today host Water and Sanitation Minister, Senzo Mchunu, to showcase a flagship project currently under construction.
When completed, the project will augment Rand Water’s supply volumes and enhance operational flexibility for maintenance purposes.
The Minister will be taken to the Zuikerbosch Water Treatment Works Station 5 System, a newly constructed water purification plant, located within the Rand Water Zuikerbosch Water Treatment Plant in Vereeniging.
Station 5A will purify an additional 600 million litres per day, which will augment the Zuikerbosch water supply capacity to Palmiet and Mapleton Booster Stations.
These booster stations feed the greater eastern and northern parts of Gauteng.
The plant comprises the following work elements:
Raw water abstraction from the Zuikerbosch Forebay through a pipeline;
Spiral flocculators and associated chemical dosing plants (Lime, Silica and Organic coagulant) – for coagulation & flocculation;
Horizontal flow sedimentation tanks with desludging bridges – for settling and removal of precipitates/dirty particles;
Carbonation – pH (potential hydrogen) correction and/or stabilisation with carbon dioxide;
Rapid gravity sand filters – for removal of suspended matter;
Disinfection with chlorine – for elimination of pathogenic organisms;
Engine room – for pumping potable water to consumers; and
Outgoing pipelines connecting to the distribution network.
(With Inputs from South African Government Press Release)