The Eastern Cape, Limpopo and Western Cape Department’s of Water Affairs briefed the Committee on the state of water affairs in their regions and on the ways in which they supported their local municipalities. They spoke about past achievements, the different water initiatives in which they were involved, challenges in water services provision, service delivery backlogs, capacity building, and Blue Drop and Green Drop status.
The Committee appreciated the
The National Department of Water and Environmental Affairs commented that there was a challenge concerning roles and responsibilities. The Minister had discussed this with the President when the President raised concerns about infrastructure conditions in Mthatha. It was the responsibility of Local Government to provide water and sanitation. It was the responsibility of National and Provincial Government to provide support. There was a difference between providing support and actually doing the job. There were limitations to what they could do because the National Treasury funded each department according to its function. They requested that there be a joint meeting with the Portfolio Committee on Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs to discuss these problems.
The Committee agreed that they would have to visit the
The Chairperson commented that corporate governance was a critical issue in water affairs; therefore, the regional departments were invited to brief the Committee on the support that they were providing to municipalities.
Ms Nomonde Mnukwa, Regional Head: Department of Water Affairs in the
The Working for Water programme, which focused on poverty alleviation, resource management and climate change mitigation, employed 4667 people, of which twenty were war veterans. The Vision 2020 Programme helped the Department reach 920 schools in 2008/09. Since September 2008, most of the drinking water in the province was classified as acceptable. The Department focused on the establishment of Sanitation Resource Centres, dam safety rehabilitation and human resource development.
All 17 WSAs had policies for free basic water provision; however, not all WSAs were providing free basic water. Access to free basic water was limited by access to infrastructure. The Department discussed irrigation schemes and special programmes that they were involved in such as the school and sanitation programme and the Regional Bulk Infrastructure Programme.
In terms of planning and regulations, the Department of Water Affairs (DWA) and a Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) bilateral forum was established and monthly meetings were held. WSAs allocated more than 80% of the MIG for water and sanitation projects. The DWA briefly discussed institutions involved in water services provision. Some of the DWAs ongoing interventions would focus on regulation, capacity building support and skills enhancement, special programmes, and provincial agrarian and rural development.
There was a water services backlog in the province, which meant that 4.7 million people in 1 179 215 houses had yet to receive services. The Department required more funding to do this. There was also a sanitation backlog, which meant that 966 000 households still needed to be serviced. Drought interventions were being put in place and R36.4 million was allocated to all district municipalities. Some of the other challenges included lack of engineers, geo-hydrologists and technical skills, lack of
institutional arrangements and capacity to perform functions, financial problems and stressed water sources. At a recent Water Indaba, some solutions were proposed.
Ms B Dlulani (ANC) noted that all the problems experienced in provinces were all old problems that were there in the past. Municipalities did not have capacity. It was the Departments’ responsibility to monitor and replace water pipes. Service delivery was not up to standard. The provincial departments were supposed to intervene and coordinate between local and national government. Service delivery suffered because of the struggle between the tow spheres of government. She asked the
Ms Mnukwa stated that the Department would provide the Committee with the list.
Mr G Morgan (DA) discussed Port St Johns in the
He then addressed sewerage recycling in
Ms Mnukwa stated that it was not just Port St Johns that experienced challenges; there were problems throughout the
The Department had had a meeting with the mayor of Port St Johns on 6 August 2009 and deliberated on the challenges with which they were faced. A holistic action plan was going to be developed to address the whole area of the OR Tambo District Municipality.
She stated that Mthatha’s water infrastructure was being refurbished by Umgeni Water.
Ms Mnukwa stated that she was aware that HTH was used to clean water; however, this was usually done in rural schemes because they did not have automatic chlorinating systems. The Department would have to investigate the matter further.
She agreed that there was pollution in the
She addressed the questions on the sewerage recycling plant in
Mr Morgan stated that the answers concerning Port St Johns were not very reassuring. He asked what the turnaround time was for the rehabilitation of Mthatha sewerage plant. He heard that it would take about nine months. He asked if the department could confirm this or not.
Ms Mnukwa stated that there were still funds needed for the rehabilitation of the plant. Therefore, she did not think that nine months turnaround time would be enough.
Ms H Ndude (COPE) stated that the situation in the
Ms Mnukwa stated that it was an oversight in forgetting to detail challenges that the
She addressed the backlog issue, saying that most of the 1 179 215 households were in rural areas.
Ms Mnukwa stated that the Department would provide the Committee with the list of schools.
Ms C Zikalala (IFP) said that it had not been a mistake to invite the Departments to brief the Committee. This was part of Parliament’s oversight procedure. However, the departments had to see for themselves the reality of the situation within their provinces. She wanted the Department to tell the Committee more about areas where there was scarcity of water. She had visited areas around the
On the scarcity of water, Ms Mnukwa stated that she had indicated the processes for dealing with drought that was affecting the whole province. All the municipalities in the
Ms Mnukwa said that the
Ms Thandeka Mbassa, Deputy Director-General: Regions in the National Department of Water and Environmental Affairs, stated that there was a challenge concerning roles and responsibilities. This was a matter that the Minister had discussed with the President when the President raised concerns about infrastructure conditions in Mthatha. The Minister explained that it was the responsibility of Local Government to provide water and sanitation. It was the responsibility of National and Provincial Government to provide support. There was a difference between providing support and actually doing the job. She realised that in some cases the Provincial and National Governments were expected to do the job; however, there were limitations to what they could do because National Treasury funded each department according to its function. There was an expectation that the National Department should do its part. However, there were some funding challenges. After fifteen years of democracy, the National Government finally realised that there were major problems at local level.
She asked for the Committee’s support, as a review of the [provinces] in the Constitution was taking place. There was a proposal that powers and functions should be reviewed. She appealed to the Committee to take part in the review. There was also a realisation that mistakes had been made in the demarcation and allocation of powers and functions. The only thing that the national department could do was to regulate functions. However, how could one take a municipality that did not have any funds or resources to court? This would not bring water to the people. She appealed to the Committee to be patient. The national department was trying to do many things, but given the many challenges they experienced, it was like a “drop in the ocean”. She hoped that the Committee was not under the impression that provincial departments and the national department were not taking their duties seriously. The Minister wished to address the Committee on these issues as well as on what was happening at local government level.
Ms Ndude stated that Ms Mbassa should not be talking about the Constitution. This was one government. She wondered why departments waited until there was a crisis situation to raise the issue of the Constitution. The national department was supposed to deal with water and environmental affairs. She requested that there be a joint meeting with the Portfolio Committee on Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs to discuss problems. It would be a good idea to do oversight visits jointly with the Co-operative Governance Portfolio Committee. It was fifteen years down the line. She could understand why people were getting impatient. The national and local governments were equally responsible for water affairs.
The Chairperson asked the department to unpack the statement that they assisted war veterans. Who were these war veterans? He noted that the Albany Coast Water Board was the only one to operate using reverse osmosis. He asked if the volume of water that was produced by them and if it was cost-effective.
Ms Mnukwe answered that the war veterans were people who were involved in the struggle against Apartheid. She did not have the information on the Albany Coast Water Board so she could not answer the question on the volume of water they produced. She would let the Committee know. She added that using reverse osmosis was effective as they were situated on the coast and could use sea water.
Mr Alson Matukane, Regional Head: Department of Water Affairs in
The Department discussed briefly the transfer of water schemes, the transfer of sewage works and budgetary support. On the matter of anti-cholera disaster management, there had been an activation of disaster management structures, water quality testing, the carting of water via water tanks and deployment of mobile water treatment plants, the use of sanitation facilities and washing materials, public awareness and international liaison with cross-border authorities to limit the cross-border spread of disease. In terms of drought management, there was the reactivation of boreholes, scheme operations to optimise water use and the enforcement of water conservation methods. DWA Community Development Officers would identify areas of critical shortage.
On capacity building and strengthening local government, the Department would engage in water sector support programmes and WSA support. Health and Hygiene programmes were supposed to be conducted in 22 villages. However, the cholera outbreak had delayed the project. The programme would continue in the 2009/10 financial year.
The Department had provided 58 schools with water and assisted the Department of Education with supplying water to 697 schools. In terms of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the Department wanted to ensure adequate and reliable water supply to Polokwane during the World Cup. The challenge was that the Department needed additional funds for infrastructure for Polokwane. The proposed solution was to continue negotiations with the National Treasury to obtain an additional funding of R330 million.
Mr Matukane discussed briefly the key challenges and interventions regarding source development, infrastructure development, scheme operations and capacity building. He also discussed key focus areas for 2009/10.
Ms M Mabuza (ANC) stated that she had had a meeting with the Mayor of Giyani who told her that there was a major problem with sewerage spilling into main water lines. She wanted to know what the reasons for this were, because between 1994 and 1999, it was recommended that Giyani’s infrastructure had to be rehabilitated. A few months ago there was an outbreak of cholera near Giyani. She wondered why the people could not get fresh water. The
Mr Matukane stated that he could not answer questions about Giyani at this point. He added that the sewerage system did not receive enough water and the sewerage “backed up” in the pipes and became blocked. The Giyani municipality had not increased its capacity regarding sewerage system pipe lines since 1994. One of the problems was that municipalities did not prioritise sewerage. The outbreak of cholera happened when people did not drink purified water. The provincial department encouraged people to boil water before drinking it or to use Jik in their water.
He said that 2000 boreholes were being rehabilitated. Some of these boreholes were vandalised. The department was awaiting funds that would allow them to proceed further. He added that the Nandoni Dam pipe system was still being completed. Once completed, Giyani and other areas would benefit from the water. This was part of a solution to the water scarcity issue.
Dr Z Luyenge (ANC) stated that the conditions in Limpopo and
Mr Matukane stated that funds were given to municipalities for water boards. A water crisis committee would be created to monitor and investigate what was happening with funds. There were challenges in some areas. There were times when the department had to intervene; however, the Water Services Act only allowed intervention for fourteen days at a time.
Ms Ndude was disappointed with the presentation; she stated that it was “another waste of time”. The Department needed to tell the Committee what was really happening in the province. People were “playing with words”. Some of the points in the presentation were meaningless. She felt like she had just wasted her time listening to the briefing.
Ms Zikalala agreed that the presentation was a “nice lullaby”. The presenter was not even serious about the presentation. Members needed to see the situation in
Ms Mbassa stated that it was unfortunate that the presentations from the
Ms Mabuza asked how often the
Mr Matukane answered that the
He agreed that
Briefing by Western Cape
Mr Rashid Khan, Regional Head: Department of Water Affairs in the
In the 2008/09 financial year, the DWA provided 12 schools with water services. They planned to provide 30 schools with water in 2009/10. A list of schools with water and sanitation backlogs was provided in the presentation. The WSA’s were assessed and certain municipalities were found to be wanting in terms of planning, infrastructure, regulating water services provision and overall performance. These municipalities included the
A blue drop status indicated quality drinking water, while a green drop status indicated effective waste water treatment. The
The Department was also involved in a Water Conservation and Demand Management programme that was to be implemented in all WSA’s. The main objective of this study was to compile a Water Demand Management (WDM) Strategy for Western Cape Municipalities, by also taking potential future water saving at the end-user level into account. The objectives of this study include benchmarking of per capita domestic water users and non-residential use of large water users, analysis of available water meter data, investigation into water price and tariffs, investigating into water loss management, investigation into schools WDM projects and investigation into the potential of re-using wastewater within large water users. The Department listed the local municipalities that were of priority.
An Infrastructure Investment Investigation was conducted in the
Dr Luyenge stated that he appreciated the
Mr Morgan noted that the
Ms Ndude thought it would be a good idea for the
Dr Luyenge noted that the Committee was in agreement that it should visit the
The Chairperson thanked the presenters for coming to the meeting. The Members were not impressed; however at least they had information to follow up on when they went on oversight visits. A number of challenges persisted such as lack of capacity, issues with transferring skills and deteriorating infrastructure. The question was how sustainable the initiatives were that were undertaken by national and regional offices. He wondered how they would evaluate, regulate and formulate realistic solutions to all the problems. Some of the answers were to be found in the Green Paper on National Strategic Planning that was just released. The Committee would try to organise another meeting for the following week. This would be a joint meeting with the Portfolio Committee on Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs. The
The meeting was adjourned.
- Regional Departments of Water Affairs in Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Limpopo on their Support to Local Municipalities
- Briefings by Regional Departments of Water Affairs in Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Limpopo on their Support to Local Municipal
- Briefings by Regional Departments of Water Affairs in Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Limpopo on their Support to Local Municipal
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