R1.2bn to tackle EC water shortages
Premier Phumulo Masualle’s provincial government has injected R1.2bn to help 10 drought-stricken areas deal with crippling water shortages.
Masualle’s spokesman Sizwe Kupelo said on Tuesday that the Eastern Cape cabinet had met last week and given the go-ahead to provincial treasury to give Nelson Mandela Metro (NMM) R233m, to help keep day zero at bay, while OR Tambo district municipality in Mthatha will receive R184m of the grant.
NMM has had to deal with severe water shortages for almost a year, with the Bay region having been struck by periods of drought every four to five years. Figures tabled at the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber’s “How to Build a City” event held earlier this month, revealed that the region’s collective water supply was sitting at between 46% and 47% of total capacity.
Kupelo said other major beneficiaries from the grant were Kouga municipality (R130m), Chris Hani district (R87m), Amathole (R61m), Blue Crane (R42m), Ndlambe (R32m), Dr Beyers Naude (R30m), Koukamma (R25m) as well as Sundays River (R900,000).
It was at the same event that Amatola Water Board chair Nokulunga Mnqeta said South Africa would have a 17% water deficit by 2030.Kupelo said the R1.2bn had been set aside by the National Treasury in February, and the cabinet had been assigned to identify needy areas.Other areas which will benefit from the grant are Joe Gqabi district which received R60.7m to help repair provincial roads damaged by floods in 2017. Makana Municipality also received R22m to help it replace and fix its ailing water supply infrastructure.Kupelo said corporative governance & traditional affairs minister Fikile Xasa had been appointed to lead the task team which will monitor the spending of the bulk of money.He said Masualle’s office had also entered “into a three-month service level agreement with Amatola Water for specific intervention in addressing Makana water crisis”.He said Amatola Water officials were already in Makana, and that certain areas where taps had run dry, had been reconnected to the water supply since last weekend.“Since the intervention, James Kleinhans dam has increased its capacity from 10 mega litres (ML) to 13ML and once the intervention is complete, the dam will be yielding 20 ML which is sufficient for the needs in the area.”..