Pretoria: With government working earnestly towards Vision 2030, the Department of Water and Sanitation has committed to focus its spending this year on bulk infrastructure for water and wastewater treatment works.
Presenting her department’s R12.48-billion Budget Vote in Parliament on Tuesday, Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane said improved water infrastructure means a better functioning local government.
To this end, Minister Mokonyane said the department will transfer R2.6 billion in 2014/15, R3.7 billion in 2015/16 and R4 billion in 2016/17 to the Water Trading Entity through the Water Infrastructure Management Programmes.
“As we strive to consolidate our successes and celebrate the good story in the water sector, we shall with immediate effect use this budget to deal with 10% of existing services that are dysfunctional and a further 26% where the provision of water is not reliable,” Minister Mokonyane said.
She said the continued disruption of water services and vandalism has prompted the department to take issues of protecting infrastructure seriously.
She said they will not hesitate to act against those who collude with owners of water trucks to disrupt water supply, so as to wrongfully gain from public funds.
“We see this as an act of corruption that we have already started to deal with – working together with local and provincial government, as well as law enforcement agencies.
“Whilst water tankering is a good intervention in cases of emergencies, it cannot be a permanent solution,” said Minister Mokonyane.
The minister said the department would also improve its in-house skills to reduce dependency on outsourcing.
“Where the skills do not exist, we will be left with no option but to source the requisite skills with the support of the Department of Public Service and Administration.
“We will ensure that we contribute to both job opportunities and inclusive growth by [considering capable] local communities … in the allocation of contracts.”
Increasing access to water
Minister Mokonyane said this financial year, the department will work even harder to reach far-flung communities.
Water and sanitation forums will be formed in every metro and district to represent communities, business, academia, women, youth and people with disabilities.
“In the first week of August 2014, we will convene a two-day summit, where all stakeholders in the water family will come together and define our working relationship.
“We will move away from a one size fits all approach, where every district or local municipality has the powers and functions of a Water Services Authority, yet its viability and capacity is questionable. Together with the South African Local Government Association, we will further engage on issues related to water tariffs, water loss and water preservation,” said Minister Mokonyane.
SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICA OFFICIAL NEWS