Water and Sanitation Minister, Senzo Mchunu, says the department has made progress in restoring water supply to areas that were severely impacted by the recent devastating floods in KwaZulu-Natal.
Mchunu said this when he tabled his maiden budget vote to a mini-plenary of the National Assembly on Friday.
“Good progress has been made with regards to the restoration of water supply but there has been immense damage to water and sanitation infrastructure.
“Together with the municipalities, we completed the costing of this damage and submitted an application to the Department of Cooperative Governance for national disaster funding.
Once funding is allocated, we will continue to be involved in the planning and monitoring of implementation of the reconstruction projects, with a stern focus of building back better,” he said.
Mchunu also used his budget vote speech to convey his sincere condolences to the families of those who lost loved ones in the floods.
“We would also like to express empathy for all those who are still without water and sanitation services due to the floods, and to assure them that we are working as fast as possible to restore these services.
Mchunu said immediately after the floods, the department established a water and sanitation war room, together with the worst affected municipalities.
“Our department quickly hired water tankers to supplement those available in the municipalities and we seconded a team of engineers and other specialists to the war room to assist with the implementation of emergency repair work and to assess and quantify the damage,” he said.
Phase 2 Lesotho Highlands Water Project to start delivering water by 2027
Mchunu said, meanwhile, that the R36 billion Phase 2 Lesotho Highlands Water Project is aimed at ensuring an adequate long-term water supply for Gauteng and the Vaal River System.
The project is funded through finance raised by the Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority and is being implemented jointly by the governments of Lesotho and South Africa, through the Lesotho Highlands Water Commission and the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority. “To date, 14% of the budget has been spent and the project is due to start delivering water to Gauteng in November 2027,” he said. – SAnews.gov.za