A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.
WATER AFFAIRS AND FORESTRY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
17 October 2006
WATER BOARDS: PROGRESS REPORT ON RURAL DEVELOPMENT
Chairperson: Ms C September (ANC)
Documents handed out:
SAAWU comments on the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry annual report for 2005/06 and services received from DWAF
Mhlathuze Water Contribution Towards Rural Development in Water, Sanitation & Forestry
The role of Bushbuckridge water in rural development of water and sanitation for socio-economic growth
FSA - socio-economic growth and service delivery towards rural development
Botshelo water - Services rendered to us by the department and our contribution towards rural development of water and sanitation services
Inkomati CMA presentation
Support Received from DWAF and Amatola Waters Role in Rural Development of Water, Sanitation and Forestry
Albany Coast Water Board – Report to portfolio committee on water affairs “Socio-economic growth & service delivery towards rural development”
Surplus Peoples Project – Comment on the annual report of the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry 2005/2006
Bloem Water’s contribution in support of DWAF service delivery objectives: Part1 & Part2
NAFU - presentation to the portfolio committee on water affairs and forestry
The Portfolio Committee was briefed by various water entities on the topic of "Socio-Economic Growth and Service Delivery towards Rural Development". Presentations were given by South African Association of Water Utilities, Mlathuze Water Board, Bushbuckridge Water Board, Forestry South Africa, Botshelo Water Board, Nkomati Catchment Management Agency, Amatola Water Board, the Surplus Peoples Project, Bloem Water Board, National African Farmers' Union and the Jonkershoek Crisis Committee.
Initiatives concerning rural development projects and support to municipalities that deal with these projects were tabled. Recurring themes spanned from dissatisfaction with the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry prescribed audit, to the transfer of Department assets, to concerns with the communication between the provincial and local areas. Several questions were asked of the Water Boards on their own specific activities. Backlogs, assistance to housing schemes and use of dams and catchments were also questioned. Emerging farmers' plights were specifically highlighted with three presentations coming from representatives of this faction.
Introduction by Chairperson
The Chairperson asked the presenters to stick closely to the topic. She felt that the late withdrawal of the Development Bank of South Africa was unacceptable and said that she had asked the acting secretary to communicate with them and to have them understand that parliament could sanction them for refusal to present on request.
South African Association of Water Utilities
After an opening by Ms J Ngubane, Deputy Chairperson, South African Association of Water Utilities (SAAWU), and Chairperson of Rand Water, the presentation was given by Mr J Conolly, Chief Executive Officer, SAAWU. He opened the presentation by describing SAAWU’s structure, objectives and its 22 members. He explained the strategic importance for Regional Water Utilities within the economic concentration of activities and people in the country. Mr Conolly outlined SAAWU’s relations with the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF), which included the development of sector policies and the implementation of them. This was described as a “relationship of constructive collaboration and partnering”. He congratulated DWAF on a comprehensive Annual Report, and specifically the programs relevant to the SAAWU members. Mr Conolly called for DWAF to further exercise its oversight responsibility with regard to Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) and Water Service Authority (WSA) requirements regarding the Water Boards’ policy statements and business plans, and also to ensure these to be complied with timeously. He also raised concern about the delay in the appointment of water boards and the Department's qualified audit status. (These issues were raised by various parties throughout the presentations). Mr Conolly commented on programme 2 and 3 in particular covering such topics as some vagueness in the report. He ended with marking areas where SAAWU received substantial support from DWAF and concluded with a plan to keep the ties with the Department strong.
Ms J Semple (DA) inquired as to what sort of challenges responded to, and what sort of support was provided to the initiatives mentioned.
Mr Conolly replied that the range of initiatives referred to include support on retail services, management type contracts, staff secondments from water utilities to municipalities and planning. Institutional challenges included technical and specialist support, and working together on performance enhancement strategies, such as the Delmas case.
Ms P Bhengu (ANC) asked how SAAWU monitored performance and if the WBs concentrated on urban or rural populations.
Mr Conolly said that monitoring of performance relied on a benchmarking process which enabled SAAWU to assess trends in performance but actual monitoring was a responsibility of DWAF. Urban component versus rural question was based on the designated area of service of each WB. Secondary activities, however, were geared towards municipalities. He said that SAAWU dealt with access to water services by making available schemes in areas where communities did not have water - but that SAAWU could try and foster better communication with municipalities on the ground level.
Mr K Moonsamy (ANC) asked SAAWU to elaborate on appraisal schemes and the business plans as well as to explain the delay in the appointment of WBs. He also asked about the level of water losses and the quality of raw water.
Mr Conolly answered that with regard to the oversight responsibility and compliance with the PFMA, delays in the approval of shareholders' compacts would make it difficult to submit reports timeously. He said that DWAF was in a better position to answer about the delay in the appointment of WBs. On the question of water losses and strategies he said that WB'’s should determine their own levels of unaccounted for water. Benchmarking could be used to keep this at reasonable levels and leak repair projects also helped. Water savings devices could be introduced and better education given. Quality of raw water, the consequence of pollution and seasonal fluctuations in water levels exacerbated this problem.
Ms Ngubane added that the business plan measures and appraisal should not only involve criticism but be regarded as a tool for the boards to develop themselves.
Mr P Zulu (IFP) asked SAAWU if there was not a different approach to summer storage.
Mr Conolly replied that scarcity of water issues related to security of supply or social and economic development. This was the responsibility of DWAF but members contributed by providing demand projections and planning processes.
Mr B Mosala (ANC) said that SAAWU had appealed to DWAF to intervene as municipalities were reluctant to enter into contracts with utilities. He wondered whether this would not constitute interference if DWAF were to be involved in contractual arrangements between the two. He also asked what SAAWU's specific challenges were with regard to the pricing strategies of the municipalities and what role they felt they should play in this. Finally, he asked whether SAAWU had a ruling structure as an institution.
The Chair asked SAAWU asked about the devolution of services at the local level and what SAAWU thought their contribution should be to successful devolution. She also asked to what extent they were able to assist with skills development.
It did not seem that these questions were specifically answered.
Mr Lawrence Sithole, CEO of Mhlathuzi Water (MW) opened his presentation by outlining MW’s commitment to sustainable development and other of its objectives. He went on to describe MW’s contribution to rural development through the “KZN bulk regional water concept” which was formally adopted in September 2005. This programme was focused on the sustainability and affordability of water services, optimal water utilisation, the condensation of systems to achieve economies of scale, and the addressing of backlogs . Mr.Sithole thereafter went into detail regarding MW’s ability to add value to water service authorities (WSA). This was followed by a progress report spanning the partnering of a proposal on a bulk regional scheme pre-feasibility plan presented to the Ilembe district Municipality, covering rural communities, industrial nodes, urban areas and costal developments. This was intended to address rural backlog and to support housing initiatives. He outlined the financial arrangements of this scheme, which included R502 million capital injection, of which over a half was private funding. A regional master plan had been concluded and projects identified in the Umkhanyakude district municipality where backlog and unemployment figures created the need for urgent attention. Situated within this area was South Africa's third largest dam but resources were still in need of harnessing and local capacity was vital to sustain a project of this capacity. On the other side of the scale the Mkhanyakude Region was almost devoid of water resources which constrained economic activity, which centred on the sugar industry in which irrigation was vital. Mr Sithole pleaded that DWAF consider increasing the amount of water available for irrigation purposes which would not only create jobs but also boost tourism investment in the area. He brought up other possible activities in the area which would boost growth including hydroelectric power and other agricultural activities.
Mr Sithole then briefed the Committee about the outcomes of the extended cabinet Lekgotla, the Uthungulu & Zululand district municipalities and concluded by saying that he believed that these initiatives would contribute towards rural developments.
Mr Moonsamy asked what measures were in place to address the backlog and what support was provided to housing initiatives.
Mr Sithole answered that the bulk regional water concept was not intended to address the backlog but would address this issue. Certain communities had not been serviced. It was hoped that the initiatives would bring stability into the stand alone systems and reap economies of scale. Some housing initiatives could not take place because of lack of water, and rationing.
Mr Zulu questioned Mhlathuzi as to why it was reducing the purification centre whilst trying to expand. He also questioned the fact that the Pongola Dam was opened in 1970 but those people close to it still needed water. He asked if it was not possible to develop small dams along the other rivers instead of being so dependant on the Pongola.
Mr Sithole stated that he believed Pongola was the third largest dam in the country. It was opened in 1970 but only filled in 1984, because international treaties with Swaziland were not yet in place. He felt he could not comment on the idea of small dams along the rivers. As to the reduction of purification systems he felt that to condense expensive fragmented systems would lead to greater economies of scale and to ensure supply.
The Chairperson thanked Mhlatuzi for responding to oversight visits but asked the representatives to look at the Reports of the Committee on oversight visits, and the proposals made there. She said it was bad practice to only operate the dam when a Portfolio Committee made visits. During that visit, it had been observed that people and animals were drinking from the same water, there was division between IFP supporters (who did have water) and ANC supporters (who did not have water) She asked whether these issues had been sorted out.
Mr Sithole could not comment on the Ilembe situation because Ilemba had decided, through the section 78 process, to be a Water Service Provider (WSP) with its local municipalities. Mhlathuzi only provided bulk water and strategies for sustainable supply. He felt that the WSA should also address the discrimination in provision.
Bushbuckhridge Water Board
Ms T Nyakane-Maluka , Chairperson, Bushbuckridge Water Board (BWB) opened the presentation commenting on the Annual Report. She felt it was unfortunate that there was yet another qualification and disclaimer of audit opinion. She then outlined the BWB history, activities and make-up as well as adding notes about the challenges it faced, which included the rural setting, high crime and unemployment, and cost recovery.
Mr R Matsebula, Chief Executive, Bushbuckridge Water, continued by outlining the Board's primary activities towards socio-economic growth, which included the expansion of service coverage, by way of maintenance and upgrades. Its secondary activities included the establishment of a call centre to receive complaints, systems of effective cost recovery, formulation, implementation and monitoring of policy, water conservation education programmes, crime awareness campaigns, the maintenance of irrigation canals, and the hosting of student medics. Challenges in the future were alluded to, which included negotiations with the Bushbuckridge municipality over the new WSA following the disbanded Bohlabela District Municipality, serious competition that had emerged between BWB and Bi-Water, a British provider, poor coordination with provincial government, undefined ownership of assets transferred to them by DWAF and new appointments of top management. Both speakers concluded by reaffirming their responsibility to rural inhabitants which involved a broad view of socio-economic needs.
Mr Moonsamy commented that Bushbuckridge Water and the Department as a whole needed qualified people in financial management to deal with the audit and asset problems. He also asked about the quality disclaimer.
Ms Nyakane-Maluka replied that the disclaimer was the 03/04 financial year. In this case there was an appearance before SCOPA, but the board was very firm on this and appointed a forensic auditor through DWAF. In the 04/05 year the qualification related to the fact that the forensic audit was not yet finalised and remedial measures were taken. If the process was properly finalised then this year there should be an unqualified opinion. Those parties who had been in fault in the disclaimer process had resigned rather than come before a disciplinary committee.
The Chairperson said that DWAF had been given the impression that there were no services happening in this area, and asked BWB to please elaborate . As to the dispute between BWB and Biwater she said that this was clearly not in the public interest, as it meant that services were not being delivered.
Ms Semple asked for details on the competition with Biwater and further details on Biwater itself.
Ms Nyakane-Maluka gave a background to Biwater, which was a British company that had recently changed its name. It came into the country and had signed a 30 year concession with the Nelspruit TLC at the time that these councils were still operative. Mbombela Local Municipality inherited this concession. BWB had a contract from DWAF to provide bulk water to Mbombela Local Municipality, and Biwater was appointed by Mbombela to do reticulation. The disputes had begun in January after reports that there was mud water in one area from a source reticulated by Biwater. Mbombela appointed an investigating company to look at the mud and to investigate BWB. that company had recommended that BW services should be terminated but BWB regarded their decision as incorrect and biased. Section 78 of the Municipal Systems Act permitted a local authority to select any service provider on any service, but in terms of Section 32 should look to public water utilities before appointing a service provider, unless there was a case of non-delivery. BWB had been the existing provider, having delivered over a period of four to five years.
Forestry South Africa
Mr S. Ngubane, Small Business Development Manager, Forestry South Africa (FSA), opened his presentation with observations on the forestry sector ranging from leadership and capacity issues to communication and information dissemination challenges. He spoke firstly on the water resources management programme. He referred to water allocation reform, and noted that the logical sequence principal was incorrect. He described water source management strategies which, for example, covered verification of water use. He spoke on water use charges, which required a realistic approach that internalized environmental costs and created incentives, assistance to poor and emerging farmers, water allocation and equity. He noted that results were yet to be produced showing benefits to historically disadvantaged individuals (HDIs). He also dealt with water management institutions and make-up of the Catchment Management Area (CMA) boards, expressing concern over the almost mandatory membership enforced on users, and unlawful water use. The rest of the presentation concentrated on the forestry programme in which Mr Ngubane looked at the forestry sector transformation, including drafting a charter “sensibly”, and the resource management of state property, whether leasing or redistributive in nature, sustainable forest management, the sector's growth and development. He detailed some sector plans, specific strategies, genus exchange and Research and Development.
Mr Ngubane conveyed FSA’s activities with regard to socio-development and emerging interest groups as one of facilitation, support and capacity building. He concluded with remarks on areas of future attention, which were mainly licensing process issues, improving internal and external relations as well as leadership and capacity improvement.
Mr Zulu said that the plant lantana was being used by communities to make hedges and that this use should be stopped.
Mr Ngubane said that although lantana was being used for fencing, DWAF, through the Working for Water programme, could educate and take account of the problem.
Ms Semple asked what kind of genus transfer was referred to in the presentation.
Mr Ngubane said that genus exchanges included all kinds of change from one type of forestry (such as pine) to another.
Ms E Leshiva (ANC) asked what the transfer risk was.
Mr Ngubane replied that the transfer of estates included leasing and the risks involved were the high incident of man-made fires around the estates, as the local people did not see a direst benefit from these plantations.
Mr C van Rooyen (ANC) asked FSA if it had come across foreign investors buying to plant in order to obtain carbon credits.
Mr Ngubane said that he was aware of this forestation on carbon credit.
Ms Bhengu asked what licenses needed to be issued to associations.
Mr Ngubane said that all genus exchange had to be reported to the Department but that this would fall away in the future.
The Chair asked why people should not become members of water user associations.
Mr Ngubane said that he was not against membership per se, but was against the principle that water users should not be obliged to join as it should remain their choice whether or not to participate.
Botshelo Water Board
Mr F van Rensburg, Deputy Chair of Botshelo Water (Botshelo), made comments about Botshelo and the DWAF report. He noted DWAF’s commitment to the development and partnership and Accelerated Shared Growth initiatives (NEPAD and ASGISA) as well as the setting up of CMAs and the transformation of irrigation boards to Water User Associations (WUA). Mr van Rensburg thereafter detailed Botshelo's responsibilities, which included servicing 42% of the North West Province, of which over three quarters was rural in nature. He explained that although water delivery was well underway, sanitation efforts were well under reconstruction and development programme (RDP) levels and most of this service was afforded to the urban population (1.037mil of 1.22mil), whereas the Zeerust area was the most poorly served. He endeavoured to show the Committee the various resources available in the region as well as the great improvement of yard connection statistics. Since its inception in 1995 Botshelo had served over 300 000 people, but, owing to the incredible backlog, much more was needed and he made a plea for further extensive funding. Consultations were underway regarding the bulk potable water tariff. He went on to describe Botshelo’s operations which included the maintenance of boreholes, schemes of 3 WSAs and waste water treatment works. He outlined the Tswasa water scheme which was a cross-border scheme with Gaborone, Botswana, as well as the tariffing system. He admitted that cost recovery was low and that a major capital investment would be required as upgrading and refurbishment was necessary. Skills development and water conservation education was also being undertaken . As a side note he detailed the committee on the Memorandum of Understanding with Midvaal Water Company.
Ms T Nyakane Mamika, Chairperson of Inkomati CMA, spoke on the governance of this CMA. She reported that regular meetings of the governing body were held, as well as board training. For efficiency the board was divided into five sub-committees, each with its own portfolio, and for effectiveness there was an audit committee. She went on to say that the establishment of the CMA was 80% complete, and it was to be launched by the Minister on the 2nd November 2006. Inkomati had submitted a business plan and a strategy was being worked on. There was a drive towards a strong organizational culture but human resource problems persisted with a struggle to transfer labour to the CMA and overlapping of delivery. However, on a positive note five students were being provided with bursaries so as to equip the CMA with qualified personnel down the line. International and local companies were used to benchmark performance and a balanced score card was used. The Chairperson stated that with regard to stakeholder engagement Inkomati was engaged with provincial and local government planning processes and had “champions” conveying decisions to the communities. The transformation of water institutions was a major priority for Inkomati with goals such as changing the remaining 26 irrigation boards to WUAs that were not gender and racially exclusive, and helping these institutions to stabilize their financial situation. HDI support included rainwater harvesting and project awareness through the aforementioned “champions”. Internationally, protocols and agreements were shared with Swaziland and Mozambique.
Mr R Ndlovu, CEO, Inkomati set out some of the challenges that lay ahead for this “government experiment”. These included the gap between demand and supply of the resources, urgent support needed by the emerging farmers, and revenue generation. He noted that farmers used up to 92% of the catchment water but refused to pay owing to disagreements with the Department. There was also a problem that institutional commitments were not fully complied with. Inkomati still needed to appoint a full time chairperson.
Mr Mosala asked Inkomati what the nature of disagreement was between the farmers and the department and what risk elements were related to Mozambique.
Mr Ndlovu said that the farmers were unhappy with the delivery of services, The farmers had not paid but apparently put the money, amounting to about R20 million, was held in a trust.
Ms Nyakane Mamika answered that treaties were being finalized with regard to the Crocodile River but that at present Mozambique played no role in the treaty.
The Chairperson asked Inkomati if it had explored mechanisms other than “balancing the score cards”. She enquired what it planned to do about all the other obligations under the National Water Act.
Mr Ndlovu said that this specific tool was adopted owing to the understanding of it by users but that other methods would be looked into.
Mr van Royen asked Inkomati about the stakeholders' engagement and how this was received by local government.
Mr Ndlovu said that they had been well received by local government and that they had achieved a level of credibility which preceded them.
Amatola Water Board
Mr M Sirenya, CEO of Amatola Water Board (Amatola), provided a description of Amatola’s vision, mandate and background of operation in the Eastern Cape. He outlined the areas in this region fed by dam supplies and overseen by Amatola. He said that the services received from DWAF included institutional reform leadership, board training and coordination of strategic studies.. Amatola’s contribution to rural development was described as direct and indirect support via WASs, elimination of backlog, rural schools sanitation programmes and learnerships. It did not yet include forestry support. Challenges faced included tariff negotiations, as the bulk raw water tariffs were high and the treated water tariffs were being delayed by DWAF. Other challenges related to the tariff approval process and the DWAF compliance audit, which was high in cost, and unfortunately was bedevilled by lack of understanding from affected water boards of the reason behind the audit. He too raised as a problem the transfer of DWAF owned assets, Section 78 assessments and institutional reform.
Ms Semple asked why Amatola was not fully part of the programme.
Mr Sirenya said that Amatolo was not fully part of the process and that this was because there had been unintended consequences of the section 78 process.
Mr Moonsamy asked how many of the 235 employees were female.
Mr Sirenya said that two were female and two were white but that compliance requirements should be with the department by the end of the month. It was clear that females needed to be trained for the supervisory and management levels specifically.
Mr Moonsamy asked why cheaper auditors had not been selected.
Mr Sirenya stated that these auditors were chosen by DWAF.
Mr Zulu asked how long it would take to provide sanitation.
Mr Sirenya replied that this was not presently an issue as Amatola's main object was as water service providers.
Albany Coast Water Board
Mr A. Swartz, Technical Director of Ocean Horizon, gave the background to the Albany Coast Water Board's (ACWB) location and especially the lack of fresh water reserves in the area. He described the desalination processes and plants used to combat the lack of resources. Most of these resources supplied the Ndlambe Municipality which serviced over 15 000 permanent residents who were predominantly HDI or retired persons. These people received unrestricted water supplies even though few were able to pay levies. Albany was therefore only able to cover its operational expenses and could not budget for future capital reinvesting projects. Compounding this effect was the increase of demand due to the Diaz Cross Aquifer drying up during dry months, and pressure from expanding communities. Plans were therefore being laid for five additional Megalitre storage facilities in order to meet this need and Mr Swartz said he looked forward to DWAF’s support in this venture.
The Chair asked how costly the desalination process was, where was the funding for these plants from and whether this was this the only method.
Mr Swartz said that ten years ago each plant cost upwards of R8.7 million but with 12% increase in recovery, one would currently cost R1.6 milion. He further explained that in this area saltwater was the only source of water available.
Surplus Peoples Project
Ms A Stagler, Surplus Peoples Project (SPP), addressed the Committee in conjunction with Mr Jan Fortuin, Chairperson of Matzikama Emerging Farmers Forum, and Pieter Esau, Chairperson of the Bergrivier Emerging Farmers Forum. The SPP was described as an NGO that facilitated land reform in the Northern and Western Cape, where its main objective was to ensure that HDI’s got access to and ownership of natural resources to better their positions. Farmers were still South Africa's biggest water users, at about 70%, and only about 4% had been redistributed to HDI’s. Specific examples included Nuwehoop farm where the owner refused farmdwellers access to water and the municipality had to step in to supply drinking water. The shortage of access to water was a serious stumbling block to emerging farmers and projects to ensure water rights were underway. These emerging farmers found their situation even more difficult as they had limited knowledge and technical skills. SPP appealed to the Department to launch systematic capacity building programmes for these emerging farmers.
Ms Semple asked if there had been any interaction with the Department of Agriculture.
Ms Stagler said that the Department of Agriculture was approached, but SFF also wanted to speak to DWAF as water was an important part of the problem.
Mr Zulu asked how was indigenous being used.
Ms Stagler said that a wire was still used to show where water was.
The Chair asked if SPP represented emerging farmers in all provinces, what was their membershi, and did they have any proposals to combat this situation.
Ms Stagler said that SPP was based in Cape Town and had a satellite in the Northern Cape but was not national.
The Chairperson commented that the oversight visit to the the West Coast relating to the emerging farmers was disappointing and that the Committee had been given assurances that things were fine but that they had been misled.
Bloem Water Board
Ms M Matsabu, Chairperson of Bloem Water Board, gave a brief feedback on the forensic audit issue, which covered governance breaches by previous management as well as pension funds, policies and procedures, and the state of the company's finances.
Mr L van Oudtshoorn, General Manager of Technical Services, continued by detailing Bloem Water’s contribution in support of DWAF service delivery objectives by describing Bloem Water’s responsibilities, service delivery and community empowerment. He outlined the Herschel service area which serviced 67 villages, the Elundini Area, Botshabelo, Thaba Nchu & Mangaung. Community participation was another area of important discussion which included labour intensive construction and community liaison officers. Training and empowerment initiatives spanned awareness campaigns to the use of local materials and equipment. Other support provided materialised in the form of Project Consolidate, debt recovery and a repayment plan to Bleom Water, school sanitation, operation and maintenance and the likes.
Mr Zulu asked if there were people trained to maintain boreholes and also asked Bloem Water to explain the protection of water springs.
Mr van Outdshoorn said that Bloem Water trained borehole operators generally; they are visited once a week.
Mr Moonsamy asked for a breakdown of salaries and which officers were employed. He also asked who were the emerging contractors on whom R47milion had been spent.
Mr van Oudtshoorn said that he would forward the statistics as he didn’t have them on him.
Mr Mosala asked Bloem Water to say more about irrigation
Mr van Oudtshoorn replied that Bloem water was not directly involved in irrigation.
National African Farmer's Union (NAFU)
Mr M Mokoene, CEO, NAFU began his talk with a background and the aims of the Union, which covered the entry of black farmers into mainstream agriculture. Its objectives remained to promote the interests of members and act as their mouthpiece, the acquisition by its members of agricultural land and to lobby for appropriate tenure arrangements and to ensure the removal of all legal restrictions which inhibited the activities of small and emerging farmers. Major challenges included the legacy of the past, initiatives to revitalise old schemes, and ensuring sustainability and water and irrigation. He noted that these alone would not solve emerging farmers' problems. Specific issues remained and amongst these were the acquisition of land in Limpopo without water rights.
Mr Mosala asked what the relations were with emerging farmers, and whether NAFU would assist with problems such as those voiced.
Mr Matlala said that NAFU was a young organisation and had low membership at present. It had no government support only volunteers and donations.
The Chairperson welcomed the presentation and asked NAFU to include a proposal to take discourse forward. She asked it to include issues that needed to be addressed especially with regard to legislation.
Jonkershoek Crisis Committee
Mr A Simmers, Jonkershoek Crisis Committee, spoke about the dire needs and obstacles facing emerging farmers and farm workers in this area and the lack of support received from local government. He mentioned that although he had been told, by Mr Truter of DWAF in Pretoria, that money had been put aside for the upgrading the water and sanitation of the area this had not yet materialised. Problems on the state land included the fact that people still made use of pit toilets which were in terrible states. Septic tanks and French drains were also in use but were very unhealthy in the area. The Committee was concerned about pollution of the aquifer, and water quality in the area was also of very low quality. There was no proper infrastructure for emerging farmers, and the farming of livestock was also not allowed on the land. The community would also like to have its own graveyard but was concerned about the possible pollution of the aquifer. The storm water trench was not maintained and was running off into the houses. The community also believed that the Eerste River was polluted by invasive fish species, faeces, and food that Stellenbosch University used to feed the fish. Shortage of water occurred in summer, and this was a big issue. The municipality mades use of “their” water that fells on their property, and would not allow this community to make use of this water. The reservoir was also leaking and no one wished to come and attend to it. Cape Nature Conservation channelled this water to breed invasive fish species which threatened the environmental balance. The Crisis Committee had taken part in the integrated development plans of the province and believed that DWAF should give the forested areas surrounding their land as a community forestry area. He said that he was told that DWAF now wanted to withdraw from the area. The Crisis Committee failed to understand this move and were disturbed by rumours that a foreign company wanted to come and take over the area. There were major concerns raised about the state of the farms in the area.
Mr Moonsamy said that this was urgent and disturbing information on Jonkershoek.
Mr Mosala asked if the committee knew what amount of money was made available for the upgrade.
Mr Simmers said that the amount was unknown but that they had liased with Jan Truter.
The Chairperson asked if the Committee had any proposals to take up issues, perhaps with other government institutions such as municipalities.
Mr Simmers said that the Committee had spoken to the Departments of Land Affairs and Agriculture, and the municipality of Stellenbosch, but wanted DWAF to be part of the process.
The meeting adjourned
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