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The North West Provincial Steering Committee – led by Water and Sanitation Minister, Senzo Mchunu – has instructed the committee’s Technical Task Team to start prioritising critical projects that will ensure the immediate restoration of water in areas with existing infrastructure in the province.
The directive came after the steering committee received an assessment report on the state of water and sanitation service provision in the North West.
The assessment report was tabled on Tuesday during a committee meeting attended by the co-chairperson, North West Premier Bushy Maape, Water and Sanitation Deputy Minister David Mahlobo, executive mayors from district and local municipalities, the Magalies Water Board, traditional leaders, and community leaders from various municipalities in the province.
Mchunu said the report has painted a clear picture that the province has enough sources of water, both surface and groundwater, to support domestic and other users. However, “huge infrastructural challenges in various parts of the province impede the resource to be transferred the users”.
“Most of the challenges identified stem from lack of capacity, skills and budget to carry out operations and maintenance, illegal connections, incomplete projects and infrastructure vandalism in the Water Service Authorities (WSAs) and municipalities’ reticulation systems,” Mchunu said.
Mchunu said the task team will now start the process of prioritising projects for immediate intervention and get commitments from all role players to enable the work to go ahead, as “we need to pump water to the people and put this water crisis in the North West behind us”.
“There is extensive work lying ahead, and this collaborative process, will enable our plans to take off with speed to restore water and sanitation services in the province. The task team should be able to provide us with this roadmap by next Monday,” Mchunu said.
A roadmap emanating from the assessment report will now be developed outlining immediate and long-term plans, with clear sources of funds to finance the projects, timelines and roles that all stakeholders will play to ensure the work on the plan is fully executed.
“The roadmap will focus on prioritising the refurbishment of the current existing infrastructure, including the resuscitation of non-functioning boreholes and temporary supply through water tankering for immediate supply in communities where the situation is dire.
“The long-term plans will involve the development of bulk water services infrastructure, water treatment works, reservoirs, waste water treatment works, pump stations, reticulation, as well as operations and maintenance of the whole water value chain systems in the province,” Mchunu explained.
The Minister has instructed the task team to consider involving the business sector and traditional leaders in the process, noting that they play an essential role in infrastructure development, protection and management.,
“The business sector, including agriculture and mining, as well as traditional leaders needs to form part of these engagements to ensure that they are involved in resolving the challenges of this province. This is with the view of exploring public-private partnerships to fast-track the interventions required to alleviate these challenges,” the Minister said.
Maape commended the task team for the swift and comprehensive report, saying that after this process, there must be a prompt response from all spheres of government to address the needs of the community.
“We are very happy with the progress and the work that the task team has done in this short space of time. Now we need to make our plans feasible if we want to ensure sustainability, and as a province, we will also look at what structures we have that can be activated in order to fast-track these interventions and provide water to our people,” Maape said.
A Provincial Political Steering Committee was established by Mchunu last month to address water and sanitation challenges experienced in the province.
The Minister also set up a technical task team that includes technical experts from Water and Sanitation, Magalies Water Board, as well as the provincial, district and local government.
Water and Sanitation Services Deputy-Director General, Risimati Mathye, has been assigned to lead the process of assessing, planning and implementing water and sanitation interventions to alleviate challenges in the whole province. – SAnews.gov.za
Source of original article: SAnews – South African News (www.sanews.gov.za).
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