Pretoria: Government will build or expand six dams over the next decade to address the long-term water and sanitation needs of the country.
The dams identified include the dam at the Mzimvubu River in the Eastern Cape, the expansion of the Clanwilliam Dam in the Western Cape, the Nwamitwa Dam and Tzaneen Dam in Limpopo, the Hazelmere Dam in KwaZulu-Natal and the Polihali Dam in Lesotho which will provide water to Gauteng.
This emerged during the meeting of the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC) convened by President Jacob Zuma at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Thursday.
“Progress reports were given on the building of water pipelines, treatment plants and systems to connect local households,” Presidency spokesperson Mac Maharaj told media after the meeting which was attended by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, members of Cabinet, Premiers, metro Mayors and leaders from the South African Local Government Association.
The meeting also received reports on construction progress across the full public infrastructure project pipeline, organised through 18 major Strategic Integrated Projects (SIPs).
“One of the challenges to be addressed with the water supply is the separation of functions between different spheres that result in dams being completed by national government but delays at local level with water reticulation systems.
“[It was] agreed to have a more coordinate system from ‘source to tap’ to ensure that communities have access to water more expeditiously,” Maharaj said.
He said the meeting discussed amendments have been drafted to strengthen the legislation dealing with theft from the public infrastructure programme.
The amendments will go through Cabinet on an expedited basis for finalisation before it is introduced to Parliament.
“The steps to address cable and metal theft include tougher bail conditions, tougher sentencing, more resources for defective work and better controls on the trade in scrap metal that creates a market for stolen infrastructure components,” he said.
More than 220 000 direct jobs are being supported by the projects currently coordinated by the PICC, which include building roads, ports, rail lines, social infrastructure, energy plants, dams and pipe lines.
“Thirty-nine renewable energy plants have been opened with 1897 megawatts of renewable energy coming onto the grid. These solar, wind or hydro plants have been a critical support to address the energy shortages caused by delays in the new coal power stations coming on-stream,” Maharaj said.
The PICC was formed to coordinate a multi-billion rand public infrastructure programme and brings together all three spheres of government.
The PICC is chaired by President Zuma and the work of the PICC is governed by the Infrastructure Development Act.
SOURCE: South African Official News