The Committee considered the report on its oversight visits to De Hoop, Nandoni and Inyaka Dams. Members were concerned that various issues did not come out clearly in the report, in particularly the question of whether the Department of Water Affairs was in a position to properly budget for the De Hoop Dam Project after strategic stakeholders like the mines and Eskom had declined to commit to the project. The Committee also expressed its displeasure at the slow pace of the project and sought more clarification from the department as to why it projected that water would be delivered by April 2011 when it did not appear to be the case.
The Committee voiced concern about the disagreements between the Department and the supplier with regards to the quality of the pipes supplied for the Nandoni Water project. Members decried the lack of clarity on whether there was an integrated approach between all the stakeholders in the Inyaka Water Treatment Works. The Committee advised the Department to manage its projects in a manner which avoided unnecessary delays thereby making savings in costs. There was also a need for the Department to speedily conclude the service level agreements so that the water benefited the local communities.
Members declined to adopt report and tasked the parliamentary researcher to seek clarification from the Department on various issues raised that they had raised.
Adoption of Committee Report on Oversight visits to De Hoop, Nandoni and Inyaka Dams
De Hoop Dam
Mr Phelelani Dhlomo, Parliamentary Researcher, briefly presented the report to the Committee. Thereafter, the Chairperson placed the draft report for consideration.
Mr L Ramatlakane (COPE) suggested a minor amendment to the introduction of the report to give the effect that Members met with the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs officials on site.
The Chairperson also proposed a few minor grammatical amendments to the introduction of the report.
Ms R Mashego (ANC) sought clarity on why the Department had not secured water resource utilisation service level agreements with local mines and Eskom in respect of the De Hoop Dam project. In addition, she also expressed concern about the lack of clarity as to whether water would be priced at rates that were not too high for the local communities.
The Chairperson recalled that during the oversight visits, it became apparent that one of the major challenges facing the Department concerning this project was the fact that to date the mines and Eskom had not signed water utilisation agreement. He further expressed hope that water pricing would be geared towards affordability.
Mr Ramatlakane suggested that the Committee should caution the Department against overpricing the water resource from the dam. It was essential for the Department to explain whether they were ready to proceed with the project without support of the local mines and Eskom and if so, how were they going to raise the additional funding? Finally, he stated that the Department must indicate how this was going to affect its budgeting.
Mr D Mavunda (ANC) concurred with the other Members on this issue.
The Chairperson raised concerns about the envisaged date of the completion of the De Hoop dam project. The extent of the work done on the ground did not justify the Department’s projection that delivery of water would be done as early as April 2011.
Members also concurred and resolved that this issue must be clarified by the Department.
Mr Ramatlakane highlighted that there was a dispute between the Department and the supplier with regards to the quality of the pipes supplied for the Nandoni Water project. It must be made clear that the Department was conducting technical quality tests on the pipes and that this may further delay the project.
The Chairperson added that the Department and the supplier were yet to declare a formal dispute over the issue of the quality of the pipes and that there was a need to do so.
Mr Mavunda decried the fact that the theft of transformers was affecting the Department’s capacity to deliver water services as evidenced by the fact that the scheme was only 50% operational. The Committee must implore the Department to address this problem, possibly by resorting to use of ‘spaghetti pipes’.
In addition, he advised that the Department must co-operate with other spheres of government in order to boost its capacity limitations.
Members agreed with this recommendation.
Findings and Recommendations
Mr Ramatlakane suggested with the agreement of other members that the following be taken as the findings of the Committee:
•The Environmental Impact Assessment in respect of the De Hoop Dam Project took three years. This impacted negatively on the commencement date of the project and subsequently led to a roll over of funds.
•Whereas the cost of the De Hoop Dam project was initially R1, 8 billion delays in the commencement would lead to an escalated cost of R2.6 billion.
•Service level agreements with 23 platinum mines that stand to benefit from the project still need to be concluded.
•There was concern about the pricing of water.
•There was concern about the role of spheres of government in the implementation of the constitutional provision to provide services and the lack of co-ordination in this regard.
•The need to empower local government to build capacity that would enable it to deliver basic services, and
•The concern about the empowerment of the local people through employment and the provision of basic services.
Mr Ramtlakane also suggested that the Committee should advise the Department to manage its projects in a manner which avoided unnecessary delays thereby making savings in costs. There was also a need for the Department to speedily conclude the service level agreements so that the water benefited the local communities.
Members declined to adopt report and tasked the parliamentary researcher to seek clarification from the Department on various issues raised by the Committee.
The meeting was adjourned.
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