Minister of Water and Sanitation Budget Speech, responses by DA, IFP
13 May 2022
MINISTRY WATER AND SANITATION
REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA
MINISTER OF WATER AND SANITATION, MR SENZO MCHUNU’S MAIDEN BUDGET SPEECH FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF WATER AND SANITATION ON
13 MAY 2022
ACKNOLWEDGMENTS AND INTRODUCTION
Honourable Speaker, Honourable Deputy Speaker,
His Excellency, President Cyril Ramaphosa,
His Excellency, the Deputy President David Mabuza, Cabinet Colleagues,
Deputy Ministers of the Department, Ms Dikeledi Magadzi and Mr David Mahlobo, Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee of Water and Sanitation,
Director-General and Senior Managers of the Department of Water and Sanitation,
Leadership of our Entities- Chairpersons, Members of the Boards, CEOs and Senior Executives, Leadership of various stakeholders in the sector and civil society,
Fellow South Africans,
It is a great honour for me to present my maiden budget speech to the National Assembly, since my appointment as Minister of Water and Sanitation in August last year.
We are making this speech at a difficult time, following devastating floods in various parts of the country, KwaZulu Natal in particular. I wish to take this opportunity to express my sincere
condolences to the families of those who lost loved ones in the floods. We would also like to express empathy for all those who are still without water and sanitation services due to the floods, and to assure them that we are working as fast as possible to restore these services. Immediately after the floods, we established a water and sanitation War Room, together with the worst-affected municipalities. Our department quickly hired water tankers to supplement those available in the municipalities and we seconded a team of engineers and other specialists to the War Room to assist with the implementation of emergency repair work and to assess and quantify the damage.
Good progress has been made with regards to the restoration of water supply but there has been immense damage to water and sanitation infrastructure. Together with the municipalities, we completed the costing of this damage and submitted an application to the Department of Cooperative Governance for national disaster funding. Once funding is allocated, we will continue to be involved in the planning and monitoring of implementation of the reconstruction projects, with a stern focus of ‘building back better’.
NATIONAL WATER AND SANITATION SUMMIT
Honourable Members, over the past nine months we have traversed the length and breadth of our country, meeting with those entrusted with supplying and treating water in our communities – our department’s regional offices, municipalities, water boards, water-user associations, irrigation boards and catchment agencies – as well as with representatives of the communities and industries which are the recipients of our services. In addition, in February this year we convened a two-day National Water and Sanitation Summit, attended by a wide range of stakeholders and experts. As a result of these engagements, we have developed a thorough understanding of the water and sanitation challenges facing the country, as well as a high level of consensus regarding what needs to be done to turn the tide.
NATIONAL WATER RESOURCES INFRASTRUCTURE AGENCY
The Department is in the process of planning and implementing a range of major projects to augment national bulk water resource infrastructure. We are also in the process of establishing the National Water Resources Infrastructure Agency (NWRIA) to leverage large-scale investments in national water resource infrastructure that are required to ensure that South Africa has sufficient bulk water supply now and in future. The NWRIA Bill will soon be submitted to the
Cabinet Committee and will thereafter be submitted to Cabinet for approval and then to Parliament before the end of the current financial year. The final draft of the business plan has been submitted to National Treasury for comment.
The augmentation projects, establishment of the NWRIA and interventions are intended to ensure that the supply of water does not become a binding constraint to economic growth. They are also aimed at ensuring that challenges with municipal water and sanitation service delivery are not exacerbated by a shortage of bulk water, as has happened in the cities of Cape Town and Nelson Mandela Bay, amongst others.
BRIEF HIGHLIGHT OF PROJECTS IN PROVINCES
The rainfall pattern shows that there is more rain in the eastern parts of the country – from the south to the north, with a red patch in the middle, and a yellow patch in the west – from Nelson Mandel Bay up to Limpopo, including North West, the Northern Cape and the Western Cape.
Our main concern is dam levels and the availability of water in Nelson Mandela Bay, Musina, and surrounding areas currently.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Department has a number of projects at various stages throughout the country, for instance, in the Eastern Cape, the Mzimvubu Water Project is aimed at providing water to 750 000 people at a cost of R25 billion. The designs are 80% complete and the first- round of fundraising began in January 2022 through a Request for Information, which is currently being evaluated.
In the Free State, we are in the feasibility stage of a R10 billion project to build a major pipeline from the Xhariep Dam to augment water supply in Mangaung. The project is planned to be completed by 2028. In addition, we are implementing a R1.7 billion project to upgrade wastewater treatment works, water treatment works and water distribution networks in the Maluti a Phofung area. This project is approximately 30% complete and is due to be fully completed by July 2025.
The R36 billion Phase 2 Lesotho Highlands Water Project is aimed at ensuring an adequate long term water supply for Gauteng and the Vaal River System. The project is funded through finance raised by the Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority and is being implemented jointly by the
governments of Lesotho and South Africa, through the Lesotho Highlands Water Commission and the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority. To date, 14% of the budget has been spent and the project is due to start delivering water to Gauteng in November 2027.
In KwaZulu Natal, the raising of the dam wall at Hazelmere Dam to ensure long term water supply to Ethekwini is 96% complete. The project is due to be completed in the third quarter of 2022 at a cost of approximately R800 million. The uMkhomazi Water Project is also aimed at delivering long term additional water to the Ethekwini region at a cost of R23 billion by 2028. The project is at prefunding stage, with funding to be raised by the TCTA, and construction is expected to start in 2025.
This past Monday, the 9th of May 2022, we officially launched the R24 billion Olifants River Water Resources Development Project which will be implemented as a Public Private Collaboration with mining companies, to fast-track water delivery to communities and mines in the Sekhukhune and Mokgalakwena municipalities in Limpopo by 2028. Government and the mining companies will each fund approximately 50% of the project, which will be implemented by the transformed Lebalelo Water Users Association. The project is at approval stage with some of the work packages at pre-construction stage and construction is anticipated to begin by late 2022.
The R 1.2 billion Thembisile-Loskop bulk water supply project in Mpumalanga is aimed at addressing water supply challenges in the Thembisile Hani Local Municipality. The project will provide 23 Mℓ of water to communities in the Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces. The project is at procurement stage and will be implemented over a three-year period from May 2022 to April 2025.
The Vaal Gamagara Water Supply Scheme is critical for both mining and potable water supply in the Northern Cape. Phase 1 is 96% complete at a cost of R1,4 billion with Phase 2 starting later this year at an estimated cost of R10 billion. Similarly to the Olifants River project in Limpopo, this project is also being implemented as a Public Private Collaboration with mining houses, with roughly equal financial contributions from government and the mines.
We recently commissioned the Moretele South Pipeline in the North West, a 60 km pipe which will be operated and maintained by Magalies Water and which will be of benefit to the following
Villages in the Moretele Local Municipality, namely: Carousel View, Dertig, Bosplaas, Mathibestad, Makapanstad, to name a few.
To increase water security in the west coast area of Cederberg in the Western Cape, we have resumed construction work to raise the wall of Clanwilliam Dam at a cost of R3,2 billion. The advance infrastructure is complete and work on the dam wall is starting this month. It is due to be completed in late 2026. In addition, we are implementing the Brandvlei Dam Project in the Western Cape. This R21 million project involves the construction of a feeder canal which will provide an additional 33 Mℓ of water for storage in the Dam, unlocking agricultural growth potential in the area. Construction progress is at 20% with an anticipated completion date of October 2022.
Ladies and Gentlemen, this year, the World Water Day was celebrated under the theme: “Making the invisible visible”, highlighting the importance of exploring ‘groundwater’ as an alternative water source. Groundwater is already the main source of water for large parts of our country, including the Karoo, Northern Cape, and Western Cape, and parts of Limpopo, KZN and the Eastern Cape and use in respect of it needs to be managed carefully for it to be sustainable. While the development of groundwater sources is a local function, the Department plays an important monitoring and regulatory role, and we will be finalising and publishing improved regulations and guidelines for the extraction of groundwater and management of groundwater use this year. We will also be strengthening our monitoring and regulatory work with regard to the use of groundwater, to ensure that rights of use are not abused.
WATER USE LICENCES
In his State of the Nation Addresses, the President has highlighted the importance of removing unnecessary bureaucratic impediments to growth and investment and has set a target for water use license applications to be processed within 90 days. To effect this, we carried out a detailed diagnostic study of the reasons for delays in the issuing of water use licenses and we are now in the process of implementing a comprehensive improvement plan. Additional posts for the processing of license applications have been created on the structure, business processes for licensing have been improved, the IT systems for licensing have been improved, and staff are
undergoing training. We are on track to achieve our target of at least 80% of license applications being processed within 90 days this financial year.
The role of Water Boards is to support municipalities by providing, managing and operating regional bulk water services infrastructure. We have had some governance challenges with the Water Boards over the past few years, but we would like to emphasise that we are committed to ensuring that our Water Boards are better governed in future. This starts with the appointment of appropriately qualified, skilled and experienced people as board members and chief executive officers. We have started to implement changes in this regard – for example, we recently dissolved the Amatola Water Board due to governance problems. We have also started a process of rationalising the Water Boards in terms of their number and their geographic footprints, to ensure that all areas of the country which require the services of water boards are serviced by water boards, that the water boards all have the potential to be financially sustainable, and to achieve efficiencies and economies of scale. In this regard, we recently started the process of disestablishing the Sedibeng Water Board, which was financially unsustainable, and also had governance challenges.
Honourable members, Deputy Minister David Mahlobo will later speak on Catchment Management Agencies, the Raw Water Strategy and a few other policy issues.
Honourable Members, the Department and the Water Trading Entity have been allocated a combined budget of R111.256 billion over the medium-term expenditure framework. This consists of allocations of R34.976 billion, R37.331 billion and R38.958 billion in the 2022/23, 2023/24 and 2024/25 financial years respectively. The Department’s budget consists of two components: the Main Account and the Water Trading Entity. On the main account, the Department has been allocated R59.6 billion over the medium-term expenditure framework. This consists of allocations of R18.5 billion, R20.1 billion and R20.9 billion in 2022/23, 2023/24 and 2024/25 respectively.
The main account budget includes conditional infrastructure grants for municipal water services totalling R37.439 billion over the MTEF. This includes R19 billion for the Regional Bulk
Infrastructure Grant and R14 billion for the Water Services Infrastructure Grant. The RBIG grant will be spent on 113 different projects across the country, and the WSIG grant will be allocated to more than 200 projects across the country. Honourable Members, it is an anomaly that municipal water services continue to decline while we make these very substantial grant allocations. Mark my words –we are going to stop this going forward - through necessary intervention guaranteed to deliver water!
The Water Trading Entity largely relies on revenues from the sale of water, apart from an allocation of R9.55 billion over the MTEF to augment its budget for the development and management of national water resource infrastructure. In total, the medium-term expenditure estimate for the Water Trading Entity is R51.6 billion, consisting of R16.4 billion, R17.2 billion and R18 billion in 2022/23, 2023/24 and 2024/25 respectively.
At the end of the recent financial year, the Water Trading Entity was owed R24.57 billion by the customers that it sells water to. Municipalities and water boards account for 65% of this debt. Municipalities owed the water boards R13. 94 billion, due to non-payment by their water users. This in turn resulted in the water boards owing the Department R7.6 billion. Direct municipal debt to the Department amounted to R8 billion. It is critical that Government as a whole, addresses the problem of poor revenue management and debts in the water sector. If this problem is not addressed, we will not see a sustainable improvement in water and sanitation services. The Department is working with National Treasury, COGTA and SALGA on solutions to this issue. The underlying problem that we all need to focus on is weak billing and revenue collection at municipal level.
We are committed to ensuring that the Department manages its huge budgets responsibly and effectively. We have strengthened expenditure management and compliance enforcement to minimise unauthorised, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure. As a result of these measures, no new unauthorised expenditure was incurred in the 2021/22 financial year. Irregular expenditure which is still appearing in the Department’s audit reports relates mainly to contractual obligations from prior periods, which have a carry-through effect on current running contracts. Cases of unauthorised and irregular expenditure where investigations have been concluded and recommendations implemented have been submitted to National Treasury for condonation and the department is working on finalising the remaining cases of irregular expenditure. In addition,
we have requested the Chief Financial Officer to prepare an action plan towards the department achieving a clean audit.
Historically, the Department has underspent on its allocated budget, particularly the budget allocated for infrastructure projects. This is unacceptable in the context of the water and sanitation challenges facing the country, and we have requested the Director General and Chief Financial Officer to focus on addressing this in the current financial year. The Director General has indicated that he and the Chief Financial Officer are instituting improved project management, infrastructure procurement and delivery management, and expenditure management systems and processes in the department to address this issue.
DEPARTMENT STABILITY AND FIGHTING CORRUPTION
Honourable Members, the first step in Government you take to stop corruption is to fill up vacant posts, with qualified, competent and suitable individuals. To this end, the Director General position was filled from 1 January this year, the Chief Financial Officer position from 11 February 2022, and two other DDG positions were approved by Cabinet this past Wednesday. One DDG position remains occupied by an official who is on suspension on financial misconduct charges with the disciplinary process nearing completion.
Contrary to the two recent articles in the Daily Maverick, we would like to assure the House that we are unequivocally committed to combating corruption whenever it raises its ugly head and to ensuring consequence management for financial misconduct in the Department. We are collaborating fully with the Special Investigating Unit on several investigations which are either being planned or are under way, and we are implementing all the recommendations relating to consequence management from completed SIU investigations.
In conclusion, I would like to thank all our institutions and entities, the Board members and officials, who are working very hard to improve water and sanitation services to our communities. I would also like to thank my two working and competent Deputy Ministers who help me to manage this large and complex portfolio on a daily basis, including on weekends! I would also like to thank the Director-General, all the managers and staff of the department, my two Special Advisors and
all staff in the Ministry for all their hard work. I would like to say a special word of thanks to the Governments of Denmark and the Netherlands for the ongoing support that they have provided to us to develop policies and strategies in the water and sanitation sector. I would also like to acknowledge the recent support of the World Bank and the Global Water Partnership in assisting us to develop our Water Services Improvement Programme.
I thank you.
BUDGET AND POLICY STATEMENT
THE DEPARTMENT OF WATER AND SANIATION, VOTE 41
By Mr. David Mahlobo MP, Deputy Minister for Water and Sanitation VIRTUAL Plenary Parliamentary Sitting
13 May 2022
Honourable Speaker, Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula
HE Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa HE DD Mabuza, Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa
Hon. SE Mchunu, Minister of Water and Sanitation and other Hon Ministers
Hon. Dikeledi Magadzi, Deputy Minister of Water and Sanitation and other Deputy Ministers
Hon. P Majodina and D Dlakude- Chief Whip and Deputy Chief Whip
Hon R Mashego, Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation and other Members
Honourable Members of Parliament
The Director-General, Dr. S Phillips and other senior managers of DWS
Leadership of our Entities- Chairpersons, 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, many citizens across the globe continue to perish, economies have stagnated whilst exposing inequalities existing amongst the nations due to the continued devastating impact of COVID-19, the Russia-Ukraine Conflict, as well as global security, and geo- political tensions. In our country we experienced COVID-19, July 2021 violent unrests affecting KZN and GP and recently the untold suffering caused by floods in KZN, some parts of EC, NW and fires that ravaged more than 300 shacks in the WC.
Let me join others in paying our last respects to all those who lost their lives due to the matters I have raised above. Their memories will live on because they remain embedded in our minds and hearts. There are those heroes and heroines who succumbed whilst in the cause of saving humanity, including the rescue worker who perished in KZN. This COVID-19 virus continues to mutate, and new strains are emerging. The only way to stop the spread is through our behavior as individuals and collectively. 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.
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. Factors that contribute to vulnerability of water systems in Southern Africa include seasonal and inter-annual variations in rainfall, which are amplified by high run-off production and evaporation rates -these being climate change impacts.
South Africa does not have a national water crisis at present. Regardless of effective water management and service provision, however, a number of serious problems we experience currently could prove to be the seeds of future crises. In such situations, water-related problems could have a seriously negative impact, causing the country’s socio-economic imperatives to take a turn for the worse.
Climate change has significant impact causing flooding though limited to some localities, while drought and drought-related disasters regularly affect communities as well as the national economy. Many opportunities offered by the water sector for development and social transformation are not being exploited effectively
We are on course to create a conducive environment for water security through the harnessing of the social and productive potential of water to the benefit of all, ensuring its destructive potential is sufficiently contained, but equally we are the first to admit that South Africa cannot yet be considered fully “water secure”.
International experts have indicated that lack of water security is not primarily the result of not having enough water. Internationally, it is recognised that water scarcity does not, in itself, determine the success or failure of a country’s economic and social development. It is more important – and this has been demonstrated at a global level – that countries should recognise the limits of their water endowments and “live within their means.
Therefore, urgent measures are required to protect the river systems as they transfer the life blood of the nation around the country.
We have a long way to go before all people will be free to enjoy this essential human right of access to water and sanitation services. As signatories to UN- Sustainable Development Goals, we are working towards reaching the global targets by 2030:
Improve water quality by reducing pollution and, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally
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
Implement integrated water resources management at all levels, including through trans-boundary cooperation as appropriate.
Protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers, and lakes
Support and strengthen the participation of local communities in improving water and sanitation management
ACCESS TO WATER AND SANITATION SERVICES
The ANC-led governments over the last 28 years had to expand access to services to many South Africans who were deliberately excluded, the population has grown substantially, increased levels of migration, urbanization, and economic growth in terms of GDP compared to 1994. In addition, consideration is placed on adapting to climate change imperatives and taking advantage of the technological advances in line with the 4th industrial revolution.
In well-off urban communities, water and sanitation services are generally of a high standard. In many poor communities, however, taps have run dry, unsafe water and unsanitary toilets (or no toilets at all) are part of people’s daily lives.
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.
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, climate change mitigation strategies and technologies required for the current epoch and future demands.
WATER AND SANITATION SECTOR REGULATION, COMPLIANCE AND ENFORCEMENT
The Department committed itself in June 2021 to reviving the incentive-based regulation programmes, namely the Green Drop and Blue Drop Certification programmes. A total of 995 wastewater systems were subjected to Green Drop consultative audits; not only to detect non-compliance and dysfunctionality, but also to guide those responsible towards improving operational philosophies which will result in improved effluent quality. Even though the Green Drop report confirmed that we are far from where we want to be in the space of wastewater management, we are confident that improvement is imminent.
This report should trigger a passion and commitment in all of us to transform our thinking of wastewater treatment systems. These plants demand the merging of scientific and engineering skills to ensure that we have the capability to treat used water to acceptable water quality standards, which allows the reuse of our precious resource. Perhaps we should start with coining these treatment plants as water recovery plants instead of wastewater treatment plants to change our attitudes to these structures whose core purpose is to protect our water resources from the environmental risk posed by sanitation services.
The Department completed a preliminary assessment on the 1 186 water supply systems and produced a Blue Drop progress report but also commenced with the full Blue Drop Certification audit cycle, with this regulatory audit report on Drinking Water Quality Management being due in March 2023. Municipalities and Water Services Institutions are encouraged to prepare well for the audits. The Blue Drop standards for this audit period are available on the Integrated Regulation Information System (IRIS) on the DWS web-page.
The Regulation unit managed to resolve all the long outstanding point of dispute on the revised Raw Water Pricing Strategy, to allow for the final public consultation to be concluded and this document to be targeted for approval within this financial year. This strategy will include the waste discharge charge system with the objective of minimising pollution and strengthening the regulatory resources towards pollution prevention. It will also improve subsidies for Resource Poor Farmers and strife towards improved transparency and predictability in tariff setting.
The Waste Discharge Charge System was piloted in 3 catchment management areas at zero charging to ensure that all systems are working before being implemented in the next financial year.
As per the resolution of the Water Summit, the Anti-Pollution Task Team is being revived to ensure all efforts to reduce pollution are being coordinated towards the improvement of water quality in the various water catchment management areas.
We have trained 107 Environmental Management Inspectors through an official training programme shared with the Green Scorpions. This will enable the Department to achieve the Anti-Pollution plan through improved Compliance and Enforcement activities.
Multi-disciplinary regulatory audits were conducted on water user associations, representing 480 water users to ensure that local water resource management is conducted according to expectations. An enforcement blitz on 53 suspected illegal dams led to 43 notices of non-compliance being issued, and 4 cases proceeding to criminal charges being lodged with the South African Police Services. This serves as a reminder that it remains illegal to build a dam without the required authorisation.
WATER USE AUTHORISATION (WATER LICENCING)
The Department adapted to the President’s call to process water use licenses within
90 days from the previous legislated timeframe of 300 days, by aggressively addressing the rapid surge in backlog with the allowable processing timeframe reduction.
The backlog peaked at a 1000 but is currently reduced to 540 and is targeted to be eradicated by the end of June 2022. A total of 499 water use licences were processed within the targeted performance timeframe and 368 backlog applications, adding up to 867 water use licences being processed in the past year.
The Department is implementing a turnaround strategy to further improve in the processing and management of water use licences.
WATER RESOURCE PROTECTION
In South Africa the scarce fresh water is decreasing in quality because of an increase in pollution and the destruction of river catchments, caused by urbanisation, deforestation, damming of rivers, destruction of wetlands, industry, mining, agriculture, energy use, and accidental water pollution.
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, rural settlements, agricultural run offs, ground water, pollution, human settlement activities, and mining.
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. 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.
We will implement the resolutions of the National Water Summit to have catchment-based water quality recovery plans in place by the third quarter of this financial year, which will include targets to improve water quality by 60% over a period of three years. This will be coordinated by the Anti-pollution Task Team led by me, with support from the Water Research Commission, Catchment Management Agencies and local government. We will form partnerships with industry towards reducing pollution and participation in incentive-based regulation initiatives. These actions will be complemented by strict enforcement of regulatory requirements as far as pollution is concerned.
We have made progress in responding to the problem of acid mine drainage in the Witwatersrand basin. We have built three treatment plants which pump the acidic water out of the ground and neutralise its acidity. This means that the risk of acidic water posing a threat to the environment has been greatly reduced. The Water Research Commission is now carrying out research on how to desalinate this water to further improve its quality, so that the water can be re- used.
In addition to the Green Drop and Blue Drop regulatory programmes mentioned earlier, we are also in the process of reviving the No Drop Programme, which involves monitoring and reducing water losses. Under the No Drop Programme municipalities will be required to measure water use, complete water balances and respond to reported water leaks within 48 hours. Similarly to the Green Drop and Blue Drop programmes, the No Drop programme will identify the causes of water losses in municipalities and what should be done to address them. We will publish the first No Drop report by March 2023.
DAM SAFETY AND ASSET MANAGEMENT
We are also continuing to ensure that our dams and related bulk infrastructure are adequately maintained and monitored with regard to 0safety. Dam maintenance plans based on condition assessments are in place and being implemented and maintenance backlogs are being addressed within funding constraints.
The Department is continuously monitoring dam levels and other dam safety indicators and issuing timeous warnings to downstream communities if and when it becomes necessary to release water from the dams. Water resource systems facing water shortages due to drought or excessive abstraction have appropriate restriction rules imposed for the year.
We have initiated a process to unlock the recreation and tourism potential of our dams, in partnership with the Tourism Council of South Africa. This will
involve working with tourism and recreation experts to develop a Request for Proposals to be issued to interested parties to make suggestions for developing recreation and tourism projects at our dams. It will be done in such a way as to ensure black economic empowerment, local business development and local employment creation at the same as protecting the ecology and functionality of the dams. The Request for Proposals will be issued during the course of this financial year.
While we have security services at our dams, theft of metal parts of our infrastructure is a major setback, and it is difficult and expensive to provide security at all our infrastructure all the time. Theft of metal parts is also one of the major causes of the breakdown of municipal water and sanitation services. There is an urgent need for government and society as a whole to resolve this problem – we need to find a way to stop people from being able to sell metal parts stolen from public infrastructure to scrap metal merchants.
INSTITUTIONAL REFORM-CATCHMENT MANAGEMENT AGENCIES
Catchment Management Agencies have been established in terms of the National Water Act, to manage water resources at a local catchment level and to ensure that ecological infrastructure is protected.
Nine water management areas covering the whole country were gazetted in 2012. Independent Catchment Management Agencies have been established for the Inkomati-Usutu water management area in Mpumalanga and for the Breede-Gouritz water management area in the Western Cape.
We are operating six ‘proto-CMA’s’ from within the Department for the management of water resources in the remaining water management areas. In the interests of efficiency and economies of scale, we are planning to reduce the total number of water management areas to six. We are considering whether to establish independent Catchment Management Agencies for all water management areas, or to continue operating ‘proto-CMAs’ in the department for some of them, working under the
guidance of advisory committees with local stakeholder representation. We will make an announcement in this regard shortly.
WATER PRICING AND TARIFF
With regard to the regulation of raw water prices and Water Board tariffs, we are finalising the appointment of a Water Economic Regulation Committee, in terms of Section 76 of the Water Services Act. This committee will have sufficient regulatory autonomy to ensure that a balance is achieved between the protection of the interests of water consumers on the one hand and ensuring the financial viability of the water sector on the other hand. Together with the Minister of Finance, Minister Mchunu will approve the new Raw Pricing Strategy by the third quarter of this financial year. This will replace the strategy which was approved in 2007 and will seek to put the water sector on a more sustainable financial footing.
EMPLOYMENT AND JOBS
The following areas can promote and contribute to job creation:
Infrastructure Development Programmes like regional bulk and municipal infrastructure.
Water conservation and demand management through Preventative and scheduled maintenance by fixing of leaks, retrofitting, and plumbing.
Wastewater Treatment Turn around Program in reducing waste discharged into the environment by converting it for energy, agriculture and pharmaceuticals. Wastewater reuse is considered a key component of integrated water resource management because it constitutes two major functions: (i) it increases water supply, and so lessens the pressure on conventional natural resources; and (ii) it reduces pollution by discharging less untreated wastewater into the environment. In spite of these general benefits, the economics of wastewater reuse projects have been recognized as a significant challenge for their implementation
Embark on Infrastructure Asset Management
- Programmers to promote water Resource Protection like clearing and cleaning of canals, rivers, and dams.
Investment in building the Capacity and Capability of the sector by investing in managers, technicians, engineers, and planners for the current and future demands.
Ensure reliability of supply and assurance for specific strategic economic sectors that have high value benefit in growing the economy whilst creating more jobs or employment opportunities like mining, agriculture, industry, and tourism manufactures. These is part of indirect water jobs as the catalytic input.
We remain steadfast and on course towards building a truly united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic society as envisioned in the freedom charter, our constitution and NDP 2030.
As indicated in my introduction we are faced by several challenges globally and domestically but equally this epoch is full of opportunities and the prospects are bright. Our collective effort and resilience of our nation will see us through. Let’s remain vigilant of the dangers faced by our revolutionary advancement but we should never be rigid, inflexible or inactive to change.
We remain inspired by our shared aspiration and 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!