Mchunu checks progress on Sekhukhune water projects

Mchunu checks progress on Sekhukhune water projects

Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu says he is concerned over delays in the implementation of water infrastructure projects, which are meant to benefit the community of Sekhukhune District Municipality in Limpopo. 

Mchunu on Friday met with Sekhukhune District Executive Mayor Minah Bahula, including the leadership of Lebalelo Water Users Association (WUA), and traditional leaders in the district.

Mchunu and his Deputy David Mahlobo visited the district on Friday to assess progress made in the Olifants Management Model Programme (OMM).

The Minister highlighted the Moutse Water Supply Scheme, which is going to address the long-standing water supply challenges in Moutse (under Elias Motsoaledi Municipality), as well as the Olifants Management Model Programme (OMM) by the Lebalelo Water Users Association.

Mchunu said this will address water challenges in the entire Sekhukhune District.

The OMM programme is a R27 billion infrastructure development project that was launched in October last year at Ga-Malekana, Burgersfort. The project is a 50/50 public-private partnership between the Department of Water and Sanitation and Lebalelo WUA.  

“The OMM programme includes the Olifants River Water Resources Development Project (ORWRDP), which will construct, operate and maintain defined bulk water infrastructure from Flag Boshielo and De Hoop Dams.

“The project will also expand to include potable water infrastructure provisioning to about 52 000 households (250 000 people) in Sekhukhune District and Mogalakwena Local Municipality,” Mchunu said. 

Mchunu also called for the establishment of a steering committee for the project to develop catch-up plans and interim measures to be taken to ensure water augmentation. 

Regarding Moutse Bulk Water Supply, the Minister called for the finalisation of the project, which is 97% complete. 

“There are long-completed sections of the project, and the remaining ones should be completed to expedite water supply to Moutse communities and the surrounding areas,” Mchunu said.

The Moutse Bulk Water Project will also be augmented by the cross-boundary Loskop Regional Bulk Water Supply Project, which abstracts water from Loskop Dam in Mpumalanga. It will supply water to 21 villages under Thembisile Hani Local Municipality, as well as eight villages in Moutse-East in Limpopo.

Findings on R143 million drought relief project

During his engagement with the Moutse community, Mchunu gave feedback on the investigation he commissioned around the R143 million drought relief project, which was meant to address water supply challenges in Moutse, with Lepelle Northern Water (LNW) as the implementing agent.  
Mchunu said the findings revealed that LNW appointed AES Consulting CC in 2020 for the development and refurbishment of boreholes, and installation of 2 000 x 5 000L water tanks on a turnkey basis. 

“The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) had also investigated the procurement processes that were followed to appoint service providers for this project and no irregularities were noted. It was found that the service providers were appointed through an open tender process.

“However, the department’s forensic investigations established that the delivery of water to communities was infrequent and this results in communities procuring water from community-based water sellers. Some of the water tanks have been stolen and there is no accountability over the remaining water tanks,” the Minister said.

The forensic investigation also included the joint engagement between LNW, as the implementing agent, and Sekhukhune District Municipality. 

“Both the institutions were encouraged to account for their individual responsibilities in the project by ensuring consistent water supply to the communities by water tankers at regular intervals. Sekhukhune District Municipality should also monitor the supply of water to communities by the drivers, and keep adequate documentation,” Mchunu said. –