Deputy Minister Mabudafhasi hands over a R5.8 million Jansenville Water Intervention Project to Ikwezi

AUGUST 1, 2014
Former Deputy Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Rejoice Mabudafhasi, opens the tap after cutting the symbolic ribbon tied to it at Gcinubuzwe High School in Jansenville.

In an effort to improve the quality of water available to residents, the former Deputy Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Rejoice Mabudafhasi, handed over a water quality and quantity intervention project worth R5.8 million to the Ikwezi Local Municipality on the 20th of March in Jansenville.

The Deputy Minister’s visit was part of her department’s 2014 National Water Week, which took place from the 17th to the 23rd of March under the theme ‘Celebrating 20 years of Water Delivery for Social and Economic Development’.

“Government has made many strides in the past 20 years in delivering water to the majority of our people and we acknowledge the fact that more still needs to be done - South Africa is a water scarce country and ranks amongst the 30 driest countries in the world,” Deputy Minister Mabudafhasi said.

“The little water that we have should be conserved, respected, shared and enjoyed by present and future generations in our country.”

The intervention project was a result of the collaboration between the Department of Water Affairs, the Cacadu District and the Ikwezi Local Municipality. While water is a scarce resource in the Ikwezi area, the quality of the ground water is also a challenge.

“Everyone has the right to have access to clean drinking water. During my last visit here I left very worried about the plight of water in this area, which was a hindrance to development in Ikwezi Local Municipality. Indeed water is life and it is a catalyst to development,” Deputy Minister Mabudafhasi said.

She said that borehole water samples taken by the department in Jansenville indicated that the quality of water supplied to Jansenville was so poor that it may have led to real and significant risk to public health.

“The high sulphur content in the water causes rotten-egg smell. We have improved the water quality, operations and maintenance, training and capacity building and reduced water loss through a war-on-leaks project."

“I am proud to announce that the water problems in this area are being dealt with,” the Deputy Minister said.

Among the department’s interventions in Ikwezi was a special grant of R3.2 million, through the Accelerated Community Infrastructure Programme (ACIP) as well as R2.7 million for the erection of Rain Water Harvesting tanks (RWH) and accessories like stands and gutters.

Through this allocation a total of 435 tanks were erected, while the sum of R1 million was granted to deal with water-loss through the installation of zone meters. R600 000 was allocated for household leak repairs and R300 000 used to train process controllers.

To reinforce the intervention, the Cacadu District Municipality allocated R1 million for exploratory drilling, which resulted in finding a high yield borehole, with much better quality water. Consequently, Ikwezi’s Green Drop status has improved from 2.9% to about 60%.

“It is indeed a good story to tell. In a bid to provide long-term solutions to the water challenges in this area, the Department of Water Affairs has budgeted an amount of R2 million for a feasibility study to determine actions required for a long term water supply solution for the people of the Ikwezi Local Municipality. This high level feasibility study is nearing its completion,” Deputy Minister Mabudafhasi said.

She also commended local residents for being patient and raising their issues with government through the correct channels without resorting to violent protests or vandalising public properties.

“In conclusion, I would like to express my gratitude to the Mayors of both the Cacadu District Municipality and Ikwezi Local Municipality for the cooperation and commitment to this project,” said the Deputy Minister.