The Department of Water Affairs briefed the Portfolio Committee on Land and Environmental Affairs on the six Bilateral Technical Cooperative Agreements with African Countries Mozambique, Swaziland, Namibia, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda. The heart of the bilateral agreements was in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) where rivers systems were shared. It was important to decide jointly on infrastructure, sanitation, climate change and other issues which affected the water sector.
Since the documents were submitted to the Committee at the time of presentation and since there were only four Members present at the meeting, the Chairperson felt that the Committee required additional time to scrutinize the document and ask questions. She also requested that Members’ questions be answered in writing.
Members asked how South Africa was addressing the problem of quality of water in other African countries; what had been learned from countries which had superior water quality compared to that of South Africa; and what business opportunity programmes in the DWA were available for empowerment of women. They also asked whether there was a bilateral agreement with
The Chairperson said that the documents for the presentation had been received at the time of the meeting and she asked for guidance from Members as to whether the presentation should proceed.
Ms B Mabe (
Overview of the Bilateral Cooperative Agreements with African Countries
Ms Lindiwe Lusenga, Deputy-Director General: International Relations and Cooperation; Department of Water Affairs apologized for the documents not being submitted to the Committee earlier as the DWA relied on input and guidance from the Committee. The objective of the presentation was to give an overview on the bilateral cooperation with African countries as outlined in the strategic plan 2010. The International Relations and Cooperation branch of the DWA had been in existence for one year and it addressed the challenges faced by the South African water sector by developing, promoting and managing strategic international relations on water resources between countries. Going forward it would ensure that future collaborations would involve input from civil society, the Water Board and business opportunities in the water sector. DWA also engaged in multilateral agreements in globally, but for the purpose of the meeting would focus on the bilateral agreements in
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC),
The heart of the bilateral agreements was in the Southern African Developing Communities (SADC) where rivers systems were shared. It was important to decide jointly on infrastructure, sanitation, climate change and other issues which affected the water sector.
In 1996, Mozambique had agreed on the establishment and functioning of the Joint Water Commission (JWC) which acted as an advisor to both countries on all technical matters to alleviate short term problems resulting from water shortages during drought and floods and for peaceful regional integration to manage relations during these crisis periods. The way forward was to support the implementation of the proposed solution with regard to the rehabilitation of the Usuthu River; information exchange in the completion of the Corumana Dam; and implementation of the Joint Maputo River Basin Study (JMRBS) through the 12 Interim Inco Maputo Agreement projects for water and energy security. This would include cooperation with the Department of Energy.
In 1992, the JWC was signed. The Komati Basin Water Authority (KOBWA) acted as the secretariat and reported to the JWC on land claims and capital repayments on loans, operation and maintenance of the Driekoppies and Maguga Dams. The way forward was to finalise alternative land for communities with the Land Claims Commissioner and to engage with National Treasuries of both countries to assist with better ways of repaying loans as quickly as possible. An agreement on Cross Border Water Supply had been signed in 2010.
In 1992 an agreement had been made on the establishment of a Permanent Water Commission (PWC) to alleviate short-term problems resulting from water shortages. Joint studies were addressing issues around water allocation to benefit both countries. The Joint Lower Orange Management study had been completed and a Joint Irrigation Authority and feasibility study on Vioolsdrift Dam had been established. The draft Water Sharing Agreement was expected to be finalized before the end of the year.
The Joint Programme of cooperation on capacity building and training in the water sector was signed in 2009.
An MOU was signed on water resources in July 2011. DRC was a strategic country and at the first joint meeting on 25 August 2011 areas of collaboration had been identified. The DWA had contributed to the relationship by securing R22 million through the African Renaissance Fund (AFR) to assist with the Katanga project on water (Rand Water, South Africa and REGIDESO, DRC). A business plan had been developed and implementing agents were being appointed. The Department of Energy would engage on energy securement from the DRC.
A joint study on climate change had recently been completed and it was hoped that
The Chairperson thanked the DWA for their presentation.
Ms B Mabe (
Ms Mabe then advised DWA that a presentation should include what was in the handout. She was aware of cooperation with
She further asked what had been learned from international countries which had superior water quality compared to that in
Mr D Worth (
He also asked whether there was a bilateral agreement with
Mr Worth commented that waterpower from Congo River alone could light up the whole of Africa and that a pipeline from
Mr G Mokgoro (
The Chairperson asked what the cost allocation was for the projects in each of the bilateral agreements. She also requested that the Committee be included in the invitation to go to
Ms Lusenga said that she appreciated the guidance of the Committee and that Members questions would be responded to in writing.
Consideration and adoption of minutes was postponed, as the Committee did not constitute a quorum.
The meeting was adjourned.
[Apologies were received from Ms N Magadla (KZN, ANC), Mr M Makhubela (Limpopo, COPE) and Mr S Plaatjie (
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