Minister of Water and Sanitation Budget Speech, response by DA

Briefing

25 May 2021

Minister Lindiwe Sisulu: Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Dept Budget Vote 2021/22

25 May 2021

Address by L N Sisulu, MP, Minister for Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation on the occasion of the Debate on the Water and Sanitation Budget Vote (41) in the National Assembly
___________________________________________________________________________________________

Chairperson
Honourable Members
Acting Director-General, Panel of Advisers and Heads of Provincial Departments
Members of Boards of Water Entities
Ladies and Gentlemen

When we took stock of what we achieved in the past twelve months, it became clear that that which we need to report on is far greater than the time given to us. I therefore resolved to prioritise the following:

  • To indicate what resources have been allocated to the Department for this financial year;
  • Deal with the concerns raised by Members of the Portfolio Committee in the course of the past year; and
  • Discuss the major projects that are currently under way, i.e. the Water and Sanitation Master Plan, the Lesotho Highlands Water Scheme Phase II and the South African Human Rights Commission’s Report on the Vaal Sewerage Problem and our response.
     

We have compiled a comprehensive and detailed report, which will be made available to the Portfolio Committee on all the work done and what we accomplished in the past financial year.

Having said that, I need to start off by thanking the leadership of the Department of Water and Sanitation. Firstly, the Director-General of the Department of Human Settlements, Mbulelo Tshangana, who spent a great deal of time steering the ship back to sea and keeping a steady hand on the rudder in the time that he spent with us. Secondly, to the acting Directors-General, Trevor Balzer and currently, Deborah Mochotlhi, members of the Advisory Panels and the officials in the Department who stayed the course. And thirdly, the current Water Boards and Catchment Agencies that have not deviated from their mandate. We have had difficulties in this sector and we have braced ourselves for the enormous challenges that lie ahead, but we can confidently declare that we are making progress.

Just yesterday I had the most amazing experience where farmers, the unemployed, representatives of the mining sector and the agricultural sector gathered in Kimberley to thank the Department for an exceptional intervention to deal with the drought in the Northern Cape Province.

The final departmental appropriation budget for the financial year that ended on 31 March 2021 was R16, 999 billion, whose expenditure amounted to R14.503 billion, representing 85% of the total adjusted appropriation. In the coming MTEF period, the estimated budget allocation is as follows:

2021/22          R 16, 9 billion

2022/23          R 17, 4 billion - an increase of 2,9%

2023/24          R 18, 03 billion

The prognosis for the Department is good. To begin with, we have had a number of unqualified audits, against all odds, which is a significant improvement. Further, we established a Disciplinary Committee late last year, to deal with all cases referred to us by the Auditor-General and SIU reports and are making good progress. Out of these there has been several recent arrests, secured on the irregularities at Lepelle Northern Water. We await further reports on cases currently under investigation by the South African Police Service and will report to the Portfolio Committee on these.

We have also restructured the Department to deal with the many vacancies that the Portfolio Committee has raised concerns about and have received the necessary concurrence of the Minister for the Public Service and Administration. We have progressed to legitimise all Boards of Water entities that had previously not been approved by Cabinet and will soon conclude this process. To all those who served us faithfully on the respective Boards, our gratitude.

We are beginning to see the results of the hard work that we have put in. However, a number of challenges remain and new ones confront us on a regular basis. National Treasury has given a warning that our country will not be able to sustain inclusive economic growth and economic transformation if severe water constraints occur. This puts an enormous burden on us, given the limited financial resources that are available and the state of our infrastructure. It is in this context that I am very glad that we have the TCTA, whose job it is to access financial markets to raise the funding, in order to implement mega water infrastructure projects, which are necessary to keep the country water secure. The sustainability of off budget funding, which the State must increasingly rely on to fund infrastructure given the limited fiscal space, means that we must strengthen and give support to those water sector institutions that raise funding.

I am pleased to announce that the TCTA, which received an unqualified audit opinion, has already amassed a R68 billion pipeline of water resources projects,that will start delivering water to South Africans before the end of the decade. These include LHWP-2, uMkhomazi Water Project, Mokolo-Crocodile Water Resources Development Project, and the augmentation of the Western Cape water supply system. Together these projects impact 70% of the economy and our major metropolitan areas in Gauteng, KZN and the Western Cape.

After obtaining the concurrence of the Minister of Finance for the Guarantee Agreements, I gave my consent for the TCTA to conclude loan agreements with and approved the issuance of Government Guarantees to the respective lenders. This allowed the TCTA to raise R15,45 billion in the capital markets from investors to continue construction of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project in relation to the Vaal River System. So, we have the resources, we have the guarantees and now we can assure you that we will be hard at work to provide water security.  

A few months ago we had a most pleasant and productive engagement with the senior executives of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and are very proud of this very necessary ally. The Team from the JSE, led by its CEO, Dr Leila Fourie, informed us of the role it can play in funding the water projects that have been proclaimed and we look forward to continue using the funding capacity of the JSE, to finance our capital expenditure and infrastructure development programmes.

However, on the funding side we still have to tighten up a few areas that could improve our economic stability. At the moment, the money lost through non-payment to our Water Boards by municipalities stands at R12,6 billion as at March 2021. In a recent study we discovered that about 41% of our municipal water is non-revenue which means water is not being billed or paid for and we are losing the value of around R9.9 billion down the drain, either because of physical losses and leakage from server connections, or municipalities are not paying their debt, or municipalities are not collecting from our users. That leaves us as a department so much poorer to perform our responsibilities and those owed and lost billions could have been put to good use in maintaining infrastructure.

On the municipal debt, we need to ensure that water tariffs are cost-reflective, fully implemented and can repay debt. Going forward, we must ensure that credit control measures are enforced to arrest increasing debt. We have no choice but to do this because the availability and cost of off budget funding, now and in the future, depends on our ability to overcome these financial challenges. Until then, water sector entities as funders will rely on government guarantees until they get the necessary support, which the fiscus is finding increasingly difficult to accommodate.

As you know, we launched the National Water and Sanitation Master Plan for consultation in 2019 as a “Call to Action”. This sought to rally all South Africans to work together to address the challenges confronting our sector. The Plan has been on our website ever since, inviting comments from interested parties. We have received a great deal of support and responses that have enriched the Master Plan, including, I must add, endorsement from a variety of organisations, such as Agri-SA, the Black Farmers Association of South Africa and to our great surprise - recently from the DRC! I mention the DRC because President Mbeki informed me a few months ago that water from the DRC has been former Namibian President Sam Nujoma’s life-long dream. We will be following up on this to make it a reality for ourselves and President Nujoma.

The Master Plan points out five key objectives that define a ‘new normal’ for water and sanitation development and management in South Africa. It will serve in Cabinet, hopefully within the next month for final endorsement and we will put aside an appropriate date thereafter to formally set it in motion. It is a transformative document and has been well received by all. When we officially launch it, it will no longer be called the Master Plan but the “Water Charter – ensuring water for all”, which will fundamentally change the water environment. It is a redistributive instrument that ensures that there is equitable distribution of water, which would also result in increased water saving measures. A copy of the draft Plan is available to all Members.

Even though we are doing as much as we can in the provision of sanitation services, there are huge challenges facing this sector. Some of these are as a result of unplanned, rapid urbanisation which is putting increasing strain on our heavily burdened infrastructure, inadequate investment in operation and maintenance and the reprehensible theft of cables and water infrastructure. Our Waste Water Treatment Plants are regularly vandalised by criminal elements that often render our Plants inoperable. We are now required to increase our security and declare essential dam security points. We will also lobby for maximum penalties for all who criminally interrupt our work.

We have made significant progress in addressing access to sanitation. Households with access to sanitation have increased from 49% in 1996 to 83% in 2018 (STATS SA, 2019). However, there is still approximately 2.8 million households, which is 17% of households, without access to improved sanitation services. The Master Plan deals with our commitment in this regard. For the time being, innovative technology is available to assist us and we thank the Water Research Commission that organised the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in this regard.

There is a need to embrace technology – in this case, technology that will reduce water demand.  While waterborne sanitation system is the first preference in most cases, we should accept the reality that it might not be practical to install a flushing toilet in every household for the foreseeable future.  The department is working with the Water Research Commission and Department of Science and Technology to find alternative sanitation solutions. 

This brings us to the matter of national concern – the pollution of the Vaal River System. The Deputy President and ourselves have been seized with what has to be done at the Vaal in order to protect the Vaal River System, which spans three provinces and two countries.

What has got us to where we are in the Vaal crisis can be grouped into three pillars: infrastructure, governance & institutional capacity and finance. The problem will not be solved with infrastructure capacity only. There are additional factors, such as other provinces contributing to the crisis, resulting in the continued state of pollution of the Vaal River. Because of its geographic position and flat topography, the Vaal has become a collection point from various sewer points and putting excessive strain on operation and maintenance of pumps at stations. Ideally sewer treatment is a municipal service that requires costs recovery as a minimum. However, the high unemployment and dwindling revenue collection in the Vaal area is making it difficult for the Emfuleni Municipality to recover any costs or generate an income to cover operation and maintenance, let alone expansion of the treatment plants.

My Department and I have spent a great deal of time attempting to solve the problem, attempting to help the municipality and have been greatly assisted by the Vaal community. Our sincerest gratitude goes to all who have come forward to assist – the local engineers, the business community and the residents.

But by 17 February 2021 the Human Rights Commission had issued a report on its own investigation and instructed ourselves to intervene in a decisive manner and take overall responsibility to restore the rights and dignity of the people of Emfuleni. We have since been in discussions and received the concurrence of the Minister of COGTA, the Premier of Gauteng, and the support of the Deputy President to intervene in terms of section 63(2) of the Water Services Act, 1997. We are, all three spheres of government, in agreement that this should be done and we have already put in place steps to implement this, pending Cabinet agreement.

Henceforth the responsibility of the Emfuleni Municipality as a Water Service Authority will be taken over by the national government and Rand Water has been appointed as the Implementing Agent to take full responsibility of operations and maintenance of the municipality’s water and sanitation infrastructure. Coupled with this is the refurbishment of the waste water systems. The necessary resources have been secured and to this end an amount of R1.1 billion over the MTEF period has been set aside for refurbishment of the waste water treatment plants.  In addition a further amount of R700 million over the MTEF period has been set aside to add more capacity on the sewer network. This is a matter that we have been dealing with together with the community of the Vaal. It has taken up a great deal of our time and we are glad we are at this point.

In the coming weeks, the Department would have finalised the appointment of contractors for them to immediately be on the ground to urgently address the dire situation. We have already started putting out requests and advertising for engineers – only South African engineers. This brings me to this point. No foreign engineers are given tenders by the Department. The Cuban engineers that Solidarity has been obsessed with are here for mentoring our rural municipalities. They are not taking anyone’s job, nor are they eligible to tender.

We all know that the country needs to invest heavily in water infrastructure to secure our economic and social wellbeing as a country. Infrastructure investment is key to the country’s economic recovery from the devastation of Covid-19. In the past year, these are the projects we worked on and completed.

  • 1 bulk raw water project under construction
  • 106 regional bulk infrastructure project phases under construction
  • 10 regional bulk infrastructure project phases completed
  • 382 small water services infrastructure projects under construction
  • 112 small water services infrastructure projects completed
  • Vaal intervention project implemented
  • 39% projects (i.e. 474 of 1203) completed as per Maintenance Plan (Planned Maintenance)
  • Unscheduled maintenance projects completed as a proportion of planned maintenance projects was kept at 26%
  • 25 dam safety projects evaluated
  • 1.9518km conveyance systems rehabilitated
  • 1 037  job opportunities created through implementing water infrastructure projects
  • 428 non-compliant wastewater systems monitored against the Regulatory Requirements
  • 366 non-compliant water supply systems monitored against the Regulatory Requirements
     

Chairperson, I need to indicate that for the coming financial year, we have prioritised the following water infrastructure projects:

  • Mdloti River Development Project: Raising of Hazelmere Dam
  • Greatt Letaba River Development Project (GLeWAP): Raising of Tzaneen Dam and Nwamitwa Dam
  • Olifants-Doorn River Water Resources Project: Raising of Clanwilliam Dam
  • Mzimvubu Water Project
  • Olifants River Water Resources Development Project
  • Cwabeni Off-Channel Storage Dam
  • Stephen Dlamini Dam
  • Berg River - VoĐĹlvlei Augmentation Scheme
  • Lusikisiki Regional Water Supply Scheme: Zalu Dam
  • Mokolo and Crocodile River (West) Water Augmentation Project
  • Foxwood Dam
  • uMkhomazi Water Project
  • Algoa Water Supply System
     

I am happy to announce that we are now on Phase II of the Lesotho Highlands Water Scheme, which we launched in Lesotho at Polihadi on 13 November 2019. Cabinet has recently endorsed the appointment of a Chief Delegate and Alternate to the Lesotho Highlands Water Commission and these will be in place by end June 2021.

The Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) is a multi-phased joint water resource development project and is very important for both Lesotho and South Africa's social and economic wellbeing. Phases 1A&B of the LHWP which comprises Katse and Mohale Dams, transfer and delivery tunnels from Lesotho Highlands to the Vaal Dam in South Africa, and Muela Hydropower Station continues to deliver measurable and tangible benefits to both parties. Phase II is now underway and I keenly await the Committee’s report on its recent oversight visit to Lesotho.

South Africa currently receives approximately 780 million cubic meters of water per year from Lesotho into its Integrated Vaal River System (IVRS) which supplies water to Gauteng and the surrounding areas. The IVRS needs to be urgently augmented in order for it to cope with the increasing water requirements. This is becoming even more evident as we grapple with more frequent drought situations in this economic hub of our country. No doubt you will have taken note of this from recent television coverage.

Phase II of the LHWP comprises the construction of Polihali Dam, which will provide an additional 465 million cubic meters of water per year and thus bringing the total to about 1245 million cubic meters of water per year into the Integrated Vaal River System from Lesotho.

The Water Boards play a critical role within the water value chain. In this regard, we have strengthened and improved the governance of the Water Boards. There are permanent boards for the Amatola Water, Bloem Water, Mhlathuze Water, Overberg Water and Rand Water. We finalized the process of appointing boards for Lepelle Northern Water, Magalies Water, Sedibeng Water and Umgeni Water to run for a period of four years from the date of Cabinet concurrence in order to stabilise and improve the governance operations of these entities.

The President indicated in his SoNA that the National Water Resources Infrastructure Agency that has been so long in the making would be established. The enabling Bill will be tabled in Parliament as soon as it has been approved by Cabinet and we hope Parliament would deal with this Bill with the necessary urgency.

We had previously committed to speed up the provision of Water Use Licences. The Department has been able to make the necessary changes to its regulatory regime to give effect to the 90-day turnaround time with effect from 1 April 2021.

Where existing water resources are already fully used, the National Water Act gives the Minister the power to undertake a compulsory licencing process to reallocate water use licences. The process provided in the National Water Act was designed and certified as constitutionally compliant. This is an important provision in the law to redistribute water licences to ensure equal distribution of our water resources for all. The transformation of the water sector is long overdue and our emphasis is to fast-track this particular process – transformation in our lifetime.

With the view of improving service delivery and promoting efficiencies within the Department, I have dealt with a matter that has been of great concern to the Portfolio Committee, i.e. the organisational structure of the Department and the filling of vacancies. A revised macro organisational structure for the Department of Water and Sanitation has been approved, with the concurrence of the Minister for Public Service and Administration. Through a consultative process, all senior managers have temporarily migrated to posts on the revised macro structure to ensure it is fully functional. Within available budgets, the Department is in the process of recruiting competent individuals to fill vacant senior management posts.

The other matter of concern to us and Parliament are the disciplinary cases. A Disciplinary Committee has been working with all the competent legal and investigative support to finalise these. We hope that we will be able to report to Parliament in full on the outcome of these cases as soon as these are concluded. When the Disciplinary Committee briefs the Portfolio Committee it will be clear how much work has been covered. Our emphasis now is clean governance and every effort is put in place to ensure that this bears fruit.

There are two remarkable things that came out of our response to the Covid-19 pandemic - we established the National Water Command Centre, which did incredible work under immense pressure and shows our state of readiness to deal with any crisis. Secondly, we nationalised water and there was no squeak from anyone – not even Solidarity. They were probably in solidarity with us then – oh what a country. We are back to normal now and have learned a great deal from this.

I thank you

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Deputy Minister David Mahlobo: Water and Sanitation Dept Budget Vote 2021/22

25 May 2021

Honourable Speaker, Ms Thandi Modise
HE Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa
HE DD Mabuza, Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa
Hon. LN Sisulu, Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation and other Hon Ministers
Hon. Pam Tshwete, Deputy Minister for Human Settlements and other Deputy Ministers
Hon. P Majodina and D Dlakude- Chief Whip and Deputy Chief Whip
Hon Rosina Semenya, Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation and other Members
Honourable Members of Parliament
The Acting DG and other Senior Managers of DWS
Leadership of our Entities- Chairperson, Members of the Boards, CEOs and Senior Executives
Leadership of various stakeholders in our sector and civil society
Esteemed Guests
Fellow South Africans

Your Excellencies, Comrades and Friends, we are gathered here through this platform that has become a new normal due to the global pandemic.  Many citizens across the globe continue to perish, economies have stagnated whilst exposing inequalities existing amongst the nations. The breathtaking scientific revolution and advancement has yielded the production of vaccines to prevent the spread of this pandemic.

The downside is the behaviour of some nations with greed and power wherein they accumulated more vaccines than they needed and protectionism has reared its ugly head with respect to manufacturing.

We wish to commend HE President Ramaphosa as the African Champion appointed by the African Union Chairperson for his unwavering determination supported by India for achieving the waiver of Intellectual Property (IP) to allow Africa the opportunity to manufacture these vaccines.  This call by our President has gained momentum wherein more than 100 countries including the United States of America are supporting Africa on this matter.

This virus continues to mutate and new strains are emerging.  The only way to stop the spread is through our behaviour as individuals and collectively will be a determinant.  Let’s continue to wash our hands or sanitize, wear masks and keep the requisite social distance. Let’s continue to support the roll-out of the vaccination programme and frown upon those who continue to spread false narratives about vaccines. Civic education, mobilization and solidarity during this period will go a long way in our collective effort to turn the tide and save humanity.

Today, the 25th May we are celebrating Africa’s Day.  We need to implement our mandate as envisioned in Africa’s Vision 2063, provide leadership and reclaim Africa’s deserved position in the global affairs. 

Our mother continent needs to extricate herself and break the vicious cycle of dependence imposed on her by imperialists, the financially powerful that command world market power and those who see the world through the lens of their own image.  Our forebears struggled for a united Africa at peace with herself on the basis of freedom, human rights and social justice. 

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 6 set forward by the United Nations (UN) is access to clean water and sanitation. We are acutely aware of the interdependence of development and sustainable use of the environment. In a number of instances this issue has become a matter of life and death. The UN SDGs’ goals are a human collective effort in addressing modern environmental challenges that extend far beyond the capacity of individual countries and we need to find ways of working together to preserve our heritage.

Water is an integral part of the ecosystem, a natural resource and a social and economic good, whose quantity and quality determine the nature of its utilisation. Water is a limiting resource for development in Southern Africa and a change in water supply could have major implications in most sectors of the economy, especially in the agricultural sector. Factors that contribute to vulnerability in water systems in Southern Africa include seasonal and inter-annual variations in rainfall, which are amplified by high run-off production and evaporation rates.

However, between rising demands for water and lack of sanitation services in many regions around the world, we have a long way to go before all people will be free to enjoy this essential human right. We therefore have to ensure that we work towards reaching the global targets by 2030: 
a. Improve water quality by reducing pollution and, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally
b. Substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity
c. Implement integrated water resources management at all levels, including through transboundary cooperation as appropriate
d. Protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes
e. Support and strengthen the participation of local communities in improving water and sanitation management

Improve Water Supply and Sanitation Services and Water Resources Management 

The ANC-led governments over the last 27 years had to expand access to services to many South Africans who were deliberately excluded before. The population has grown substantially, and increased levels of migration, urbanization and economic growth in terms of GDP compared to 1994 have also had an impact.   In addition, consideration has to be placed in adapting to climate change imperatives and taking advantage of the technological advances in line with the 4th industrial revolution.

The General Household Survey for 2019 report by StatsSA indicates overall access to improved water increasing between 2002 and 2019 but significant variation within provinces growing from 84.4% to 88.2%.  More households in absolute numbers from 4.5m to 7.7m have access to piped water but with a small percentage increase of 4.5% over the same period.  

The proportion of HHs reported to be paying for water has been declining steadily over the past decade.  Through the provision and efforts of government, support agencies and existing stakeholders, the percentage of HHs with access to improved sanitation increased by 20.4% points from 61.7% to 82.1%. 

Despite all the advances we have recorded, we are the first to admit that more still needs to be done especially in rural areas where services and infrastructure are poor or non-existent whilst urban areas continue to experience service delivery disruptions or failures for a variety of reasons.
Water for Economic Growth and Development 

Water is arguably the most precious resource on earth and yet we often value and manage it extremely poor.

Water resource infrastructure is part of network industries that should constitute the bedrock, a catalyst and enablers for economic recovery. Economic investments in this network infrastructure must have specific and deliberate focus aimed at planning, development and management of energy, water resources, transport and information and communication technology infrastructure.

The price of water traditionally reflects a limited set of costs to treat and transport water but the value of water is far greater.  The value of water is difficult to quantify. Societies have different conceptualizations and describe it differently.

Investing in improved water and sanitation and water resources management is vital for national economies and poor communities.  Such investment will be to the benefit of those countries with the greatest water challenges and eradicate poverty. The economic benefits far outweigh the investment costs. Wherein decision makers often view such investments as mere costs.

There is a considerable need for public and private sector investment in the water supply and sanitation and water resources management. The productivity and production capacity of people and economic sectors such as agriculture and industry depend on people’s health and secure water availability. 

Our President, HE President Ramaphosa has full appreciation of the importance of water resources management including improved water supply and sanitation hence its inclusion in the National Development Plan, Vision 2030 and Economic Recovery and Renewal Plan for our country.

Water resources management and infrastructure 

South Africa’s challenges remain in the delivery of water and sanitation services caused by among other factors, insufficient water infrastructure maintenance and investment, recurrent droughts driven by climatic variation, inequities in access to water and sanitation, deteriorating water quality, and a lack of skilled water engineers, scientists, hydrologists, geo-hydrologists and resource economist, etc. 

The. Water Research Commission, the CSIR, Institutions of Higher Learning, the Water Academy, SALGA and Water SETA, private sector, and international partners are investing in skills revolution and technologies required for the current epoch and future demands.

Water Resources Protection 

Due to population growth, migration, urbanization, and lack of infrastructure maintenance, we have experienced negative impacts on the quality of the water resources. Water quality continues to deteriorate at an alarming rate.  Results indicate that the source of pollution emanates from the lack of or inadequate sanitation, return effluent from industries, mines, rural settlements, agricultural run offs, ground water, and pollution from human settlement activities. 

We previously announced the establishment of an Anti-Pollution Task Team (APTT) to manage and minimize the effects of pollution on the water resources. I am pleased to announce that the APTT was formally established and is made up of 22 experts from various sections within the Department. The APTT has formally drafted an action plan, and the plan has 8 key tasks which are in line with the Integrated Water Quality Management Strategy. 

Monitoring of our water resources has resumed in all provinces and we anticipate having a report on the quality of our resources by end of this financial year. The task team also managed to identify water quality hotspots in a few WMAs and will this financial year (2021/22) put plans in place to deal with these hotspots. High risk facilities were also identified and prioritized for compliance monitoring and the Department has already started enforcement action with a few water users including municipalities.

Acid Mine Drainage (AMD)

The risks for water security in the Integrated Vaal River System (IVRS) due to Acid Mine Drainage have been substantially mitigated through the Witwatersrand AMD Short-term Solution Emergency Works Project. A review is underway seeking options and mechanisms to convert the Short-term Solution Emergency Works Project into a long-term, sustainable and self-funding solution, potentially converting impacted mine water into a resource that can be used elsewhere to promote social and economic development.

We have also learnt from the Witwatersrand AMD challenge that other mining-intensive areas such as the Limpopo and Mpumalanga coalfields, platinum belt and Northern Cape base metal mining areas may in due course also manifest mining-ascribed water resources impacts. Furthermore, we have adopted a Mine Water Management Policy and working closely with sector departments on revenue instruments and mine closure to deal with post-mining water risk. 

Waste discharge charge system

The principle of Polluter Pays will be enforced through the waste discharge system to ensure that other waste impacts from industry, agriculture and local government may be quantified and appropriate charges incurred on the relevant sectors. All revenue will be ring-fenced for the discrete implementation of interventions that are geared towards improved water resources management and water security.

This system will be rolled out in the Vaal, Crocodile West Marico and Olifants water management areas starting in the current financial year and full roll-out by 2025 ensuring significant reduction in pollution load. 

We are on course working with National Treasury, COGTA and SALGA with the establishment of an independent water economic regulator as part of Operation Vulindela.  The matter of water pricing continues to receive attention within the water sector.

Blue Drop & Green Drop report

Water and wastewater management is almost reaching a crisis level and there is an urgent need for collaboration among different stakeholders.  There are a number of challenges faced by municipalities with respect to management of wastewater treatment works and water distribution and metering due to operational problems.  To produce potable drinking water municipalities should adhere to operational practices and use of appropriate technologies with people with requisite skills.

There are 612 WWTWs that are operating within the design capacity, whilst 154 are operating to the design capacity. It is concerning that 144 wastewater treatment plants are operating above design capacity whilst about 199 WWTWs design capacity is not known.

The Department has progressed with the revival of the Blue/Green Drop Programme. In 2021/22 financial year full Green Drop assessments and Progress Assessment for Blue Drop will be done. The plan is to engage the sector and conduct training by July 2021. All municipal information should be loaded on the IRIS by end of July which will be followed by confirmations in October and moderation of the scorecards will be completed in November. It is envisaged that there will be a draft report by end of January 2022.

The implementation of the No Drop Guideline is currently being piloted at 5 different categories of Municipalities (Tshwane metro, Dawid Kruiper LM, City of Mbombela LM, Modimolle-Mokgopong LM and iLembe DM). I am happy to announce that in the background, our work has evolved into a true realisation that the No Drop Programme not only be used as a Regulatory tool but also as an operational tool to guide and prioritize interventions and Investment.

Water allocation

The quantity and quality of water depends on the landscape.  The current allocations in terms of water use by various sectors is unsustainable and some of these measures have to be implemented to promote socio-economic imperatives:  
a) Demand side measures to increase water availability and improve water use efficiency. 
b) Reallocation of water from lower to higher benefit uses by trading water use authorization without compromising the transformation imperatives.
c) Supply side measures through construction of new dams, related water resource infrastructure, inter catchment and regional transfers. 
d) South Africa’s growth hub, the Gauteng Province depends on the Integrated Vaal River System to meet its growth requirements, thus there is a need to implement water conservation and demand measures. 
e) Inter -catchment transfer will remain a viable option to meet water needs for inland provinces. 

Water security and mitigating scarcity 

Water resource is not always in surplus and we need to optimize the use of the existing water resources through water re-allocation to reduce the expensive importation of water.  We need to explore disruptive technologies to shift the way we value water and drive resilience across supply chains and ecosystems through:  

Development, operations, maintenance and refurbishment of eager resources infrastructure;  Regional bulk infrastructure roll-out; Reduce the demand by implementing water through water conservation and demand management; Development of surface water sources through construction of new dams and transfers; Development and exploitation of ground water sources; .Promotion of water reuse to increase the yield beyond the current 20% contribution; Explore increasing desalination for the coastal areas; Management of acid mine drainage; Water harvesting 

Let’s remain steadfast and on course in building a truly united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic society as envisioned in the freedom charter, our constitution and NDP 2030.  

For water resource infrastructure we need to promote collaborations to identify and scale up public private investments to accelerate implementation projects aimed at achieving sustainable development goal (SDG 6) on water and sanitation.  Water is essential to life.  We need to work hard to bring safe water and dignified sanitation to all.  Let’s provide families with hope, health and the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty, unemployment and reduce inequality. 

South Africa and the world are in the midst of profound challenges but equally this epoch is full of opportunities, the prospects are bright whilst the challenges might look severe.  We remain vigilant of the dangers faced by our revolutionary advance but we are never rigid nor inflexible or inactive to change.

On this day we remain inspired by the original aspiration of our forebears and our tasks are far from complete in advancing our noble objectives of freedom, human rights and social justice. We are motivated by the desire to create and fulfil our promiser of a better life for all.

God bless South Africa, and her sons and daughters

I thank you!

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Deputy Minister David Mahlobo: Water and Sanitation Dept Budget Vote 2021/22

25 May 2021

Honourable Speaker, Ms Thandi Modise
HE Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa
HE DD Mabuza, Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa
Hon. LN Sisulu, Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation and other Hon Ministers
Hon. Pam Tshwete, Deputy Minister for Human Settlements and other Deputy Ministers
Hon. P Majodina and D Dlakude- Chief Whip and Deputy Chief Whip
Hon Rosina Semenya, Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation and other Members
Honourable Members of Parliament
The Acting DG and other Senior Managers of DWS
Leadership of our Entities- Chairperson, Members of the Boards, CEOs and Senior Executives
Leadership of various stakeholders in our sector and civil society
Esteemed Guests
Fellow South Africans

Your Excellencies, Comrades and Friends, we are gathered here through this platform that has become a new normal due to the global pandemic.  Many citizens across the globe continue to perish, economies have stagnated whilst exposing inequalities existing amongst the nations. The breathtaking scientific revolution and advancement has yielded the production of vaccines to prevent the spread of this pandemic.

The downside is the behaviour of some nations with greed and power wherein they accumulated more vaccines than they needed and protectionism has reared its ugly head with respect to manufacturing.

We wish to commend HE President Ramaphosa as the African Champion appointed by the African Union Chairperson for his unwavering determination supported by India for achieving the waiver of Intellectual Property (IP) to allow Africa the opportunity to manufacture these vaccines.  This call by our President has gained momentum wherein more than 100 countries including the United States of America are supporting Africa on this matter.

This virus continues to mutate and new strains are emerging.  The only way to stop the spread is through our behaviour as individuals and collectively will be a determinant.  Let’s continue to wash our hands or sanitize, wear masks and keep the requisite social distance. Let’s continue to support the roll-out of the vaccination programme and frown upon those who continue to spread false narratives about vaccines. Civic education, mobilization and solidarity during this period will go a long way in our collective effort to turn the tide and save humanity.

Today, the 25th May we are celebrating Africa’s Day.  We need to implement our mandate as envisioned in Africa’s Vision 2063, provide leadership and reclaim Africa’s deserved position in the global affairs. 

Our mother continent needs to extricate herself and break the vicious cycle of dependence imposed on her by imperialists, the financially powerful that command world market power and those who see the world through the lens of their own image.  Our forebears struggled for a united Africa at peace with herself on the basis of freedom, human rights and social justice. 

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 6 set forward by the United Nations (UN) is access to clean water and sanitation. We are acutely aware of the interdependence of development and sustainable use of the environment. In a number of instances this issue has become a matter of life and death. The UN SDGs’ goals are a human collective effort in addressing modern environmental challenges that extend far beyond the capacity of individual countries and we need to find ways of working together to preserve our heritage.

Water is an integral part of the ecosystem, a natural resource and a social and economic good, whose quantity and quality determine the nature of its utilisation. Water is a limiting resource for development in Southern Africa and a change in water supply could have major implications in most sectors of the economy, especially in the agricultural sector. Factors that contribute to vulnerability in water systems in Southern Africa include seasonal and inter-annual variations in rainfall, which are amplified by high run-off production and evaporation rates.

However, between rising demands for water and lack of sanitation services in many regions around the world, we have a long way to go before all people will be free to enjoy this essential human right. We therefore have to ensure that we work towards reaching the global targets by 2030: 
a. Improve water quality by reducing pollution and, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally
b. Substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity
c. Implement integrated water resources management at all levels, including through transboundary cooperation as appropriate
d. Protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes
e. Support and strengthen the participation of local communities in improving water and sanitation management

Improve Water Supply and Sanitation Services and Water Resources Management 

The ANC-led governments over the last 27 years had to expand access to services to many South Africans who were deliberately excluded before. The population has grown substantially, and increased levels of migration, urbanization and economic growth in terms of GDP compared to 1994 have also had an impact.   In addition, consideration has to be placed in adapting to climate change imperatives and taking advantage of the technological advances in line with the 4th industrial revolution.

The General Household Survey for 2019 report by StatsSA indicates overall access to improved water increasing between 2002 and 2019 but significant variation within provinces growing from 84.4% to 88.2%.  More households in absolute numbers from 4.5m to 7.7m have access to piped water but with a small percentage increase of 4.5% over the same period.  

The proportion of HHs reported to be paying for water has been declining steadily over the past decade.  Through the provision and efforts of government, support agencies and existing stakeholders, the percentage of HHs with access to improved sanitation increased by 20.4% points from 61.7% to 82.1%. 

Despite all the advances we have recorded, we are the first to admit that more still needs to be done especially in rural areas where services and infrastructure are poor or non-existent whilst urban areas continue to experience service delivery disruptions or failures for a variety of reasons.
Water for Economic Growth and Development 

Water is arguably the most precious resource on earth and yet we often value and manage it extremely poor.

Water resource infrastructure is part of network industries that should constitute the bedrock, a catalyst and enablers for economic recovery. Economic investments in this network infrastructure must have specific and deliberate focus aimed at planning, development and management of energy, water resources, transport and information and communication technology infrastructure.

The price of water traditionally reflects a limited set of costs to treat and transport water but the value of water is far greater.  The value of water is difficult to quantify. Societies have different conceptualizations and describe it differently.

Investing in improved water and sanitation and water resources management is vital for national economies and poor communities.  Such investment will be to the benefit of those countries with the greatest water challenges and eradicate poverty. The economic benefits far outweigh the investment costs. Wherein decision makers often view such investments as mere costs.

There is a considerable need for public and private sector investment in the water supply and sanitation and water resources management. The productivity and production capacity of people and economic sectors such as agriculture and industry depend on people’s health and secure water availability. 

Our President, HE President Ramaphosa has full appreciation of the importance of water resources management including improved water supply and sanitation hence its inclusion in the National Development Plan, Vision 2030 and Economic Recovery and Renewal Plan for our country.

Water resources management and infrastructure 

South Africa’s challenges remain in the delivery of water and sanitation services caused by among other factors, insufficient water infrastructure maintenance and investment, recurrent droughts driven by climatic variation, inequities in access to water and sanitation, deteriorating water quality, and a lack of skilled water engineers, scientists, hydrologists, geo-hydrologists and resource economist, etc. 

The. Water Research Commission, the CSIR, Institutions of Higher Learning, the Water Academy, SALGA and Water SETA, private sector, and international partners are investing in skills revolution and technologies required for the current epoch and future demands.

Water Resources Protection 

Due to population growth, migration, urbanization, and lack of infrastructure maintenance, we have experienced negative impacts on the quality of the water resources. Water quality continues to deteriorate at an alarming rate.  Results indicate that the source of pollution emanates from the lack of or inadequate sanitation, return effluent from industries, mines, rural settlements, agricultural run offs, ground water, and pollution from human settlement activities. 

We previously announced the establishment of an Anti-Pollution Task Team (APTT) to manage and minimize the effects of pollution on the water resources. I am pleased to announce that the APTT was formally established and is made up of 22 experts from various sections within the Department. The APTT has formally drafted an action plan, and the plan has 8 key tasks which are in line with the Integrated Water Quality Management Strategy. 

Monitoring of our water resources has resumed in all provinces and we anticipate having a report on the quality of our resources by end of this financial year. The task team also managed to identify water quality hotspots in a few WMAs and will this financial year (2021/22) put plans in place to deal with these hotspots. High risk facilities were also identified and prioritized for compliance monitoring and the Department has already started enforcement action with a few water users including municipalities.

Acid Mine Drainage (AMD)

The risks for water security in the Integrated Vaal River System (IVRS) due to Acid Mine Drainage have been substantially mitigated through the Witwatersrand AMD Short-term Solution Emergency Works Project. A review is underway seeking options and mechanisms to convert the Short-term Solution Emergency Works Project into a long-term, sustainable and self-funding solution, potentially converting impacted mine water into a resource that can be used elsewhere to promote social and economic development.

We have also learnt from the Witwatersrand AMD challenge that other mining-intensive areas such as the Limpopo and Mpumalanga coalfields, platinum belt and Northern Cape base metal mining areas may in due course also manifest mining-ascribed water resources impacts. Furthermore, we have adopted a Mine Water Management Policy and working closely with sector departments on revenue instruments and mine closure to deal with post-mining water risk. 

Waste discharge charge system

The principle of Polluter Pays will be enforced through the waste discharge system to ensure that other waste impacts from industry, agriculture and local government may be quantified and appropriate charges incurred on the relevant sectors. All revenue will be ring-fenced for the discrete implementation of interventions that are geared towards improved water resources management and water security.

This system will be rolled out in the Vaal, Crocodile West Marico and Olifants water management areas starting in the current financial year and full roll-out by 2025 ensuring significant reduction in pollution load. 

We are on course working with National Treasury, COGTA and SALGA with the establishment of an independent water economic regulator as part of Operation Vulindela.  The matter of water pricing continues to receive attention within the water sector.

Blue Drop & Green Drop report

Water and wastewater management is almost reaching a crisis level and there is an urgent need for collaboration among different stakeholders.  There are a number of challenges faced by municipalities with respect to management of wastewater treatment works and water distribution and metering due to operational problems.  To produce potable drinking water municipalities should adhere to operational practices and use of appropriate technologies with people with requisite skills.

There are 612 WWTWs that are operating within the design capacity, whilst 154 are operating to the design capacity. It is concerning that 144 wastewater treatment plants are operating above design capacity whilst about 199 WWTWs design capacity is not known.

The Department has progressed with the revival of the Blue/Green Drop Programme. In 2021/22 financial year full Green Drop assessments and Progress Assessment for Blue Drop will be done. The plan is to engage the sector and conduct training by July 2021. All municipal information should be loaded on the IRIS by end of July which will be followed by confirmations in October and moderation of the scorecards will be completed in November. It is envisaged that there will be a draft report by end of January 2022.

The implementation of the No Drop Guideline is currently being piloted at 5 different categories of Municipalities (Tshwane metro, Dawid Kruiper LM, City of Mbombela LM, Modimolle-Mokgopong LM and iLembe DM). I am happy to announce that in the background, our work has evolved into a true realisation that the No Drop Programme not only be used as a Regulatory tool but also as an operational tool to guide and prioritize interventions and Investment.

Water allocation

The quantity and quality of water depends on the landscape.  The current allocations in terms of water use by various sectors is unsustainable and some of these measures have to be implemented to promote socio-economic imperatives:  
a) Demand side measures to increase water availability and improve water use efficiency. 
b) Reallocation of water from lower to higher benefit uses by trading water use authorization without compromising the transformation imperatives.
c) Supply side measures through construction of new dams, related water resource infrastructure, inter catchment and regional transfers. 
d) South Africa’s growth hub, the Gauteng Province depends on the Integrated Vaal River System to meet its growth requirements, thus there is a need to implement water conservation and demand measures. 
e) Inter -catchment transfer will remain a viable option to meet water needs for inland provinces. 

Water security and mitigating scarcity 

Water resource is not always in surplus and we need to optimize the use of the existing water resources through water re-allocation to reduce the expensive importation of water.  We need to explore disruptive technologies to shift the way we value water and drive resilience across supply chains and ecosystems through:  

Development, operations, maintenance and refurbishment of eager resources infrastructure;  Regional bulk infrastructure roll-out; Reduce the demand by implementing water through water conservation and demand management; Development of surface water sources through construction of new dams and transfers; Development and exploitation of ground water sources; .Promotion of water reuse to increase the yield beyond the current 20% contribution; Explore increasing desalination for the coastal areas; Management of acid mine drainage; Water harvesting 

Let’s remain steadfast and on course in building a truly united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic society as envisioned in the freedom charter, our constitution and NDP 2030.  

For water resource infrastructure we need to promote collaborations to identify and scale up public private investments to accelerate implementation projects aimed at achieving sustainable development goal (SDG 6) on water and sanitation.  Water is essential to life.  We need to work hard to bring safe water and dignified sanitation to all.  Let’s provide families with hope, health and the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty, unemployment and reduce inequality. 

South Africa and the world are in the midst of profound challenges but equally this epoch is full of opportunities, the prospects are bright whilst the challenges might look severe.  We remain vigilant of the dangers faced by our revolutionary advance but we are never rigid nor inflexible or inactive to change.

On this day we remain inspired by the original aspiration of our forebears and our tasks are far from complete in advancing our noble objectives of freedom, human rights and social justice. We are motivated by the desire to create and fulfil our promiser of a better life for all.

God bless South Africa, and her sons and daughters

I thank you!

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