In an effort to root out corruption within the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS), Minister Gugile Nkwinti has announced sweeping changes in the management of major infrastructure projects.

Nkwinti noted that poor management has been a problem within the department, but he is working hard to turn things around.

According to the minister, the ‘blind contracting’ of water and sanitation mega projects to service providers has cost the department between R10 and R15 billion over the past few years. The DWS is now working with law enforcement agencies to investigate corruption within the department and three senior managers have since resigned from their posts to avoid being investigated, he said.

Directive to the TCTA

In terms of Sections 74 and 103 (2) of the National Water Act, Nkwinti has issued a directive to the Trans Caledon Tunnel Authority (TCTA) to provide programme management services to the DWS on the following water projects:

  • De-Hoop Water Project
  • Mzimvubu Water Project
  • Loskop Water Project
  • Xhariep Bulk Water Supply
  • Clanwilliam Water Project

In his directive, Nkwinti said TCTA should utilise its capabilities and resources to increasing support DWS in its infrastructure mandate that will enable the effective delivery of water and sanitation services to the public.

“The directive shall be implemented in line with all applicable laws and the new implementation Model which promotes effective utilization of the Construction Unit in the Department of Water and Sanitation South Africa DWS_RSA implementation of the managed projects and socio-economic transformation in the execution of projects,” he said.

He instructed the TCTA to develop a business plan, stating that a service level agreement will be concluded by the end of April. Once concluded, a technical task team will be established with officials from DWS, TCTA, Water Service Authorities, relevant institutions impacted by the projects and as well as provincial COGTA officials to analyse a suitable model for implementation funding for each project.

Partnering with DBSA

Nkwinti issued another directive for the DWS to follow an applicable legislative framework in formalising a relationship with Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA).

The DBSA will be entrusted to perform programme management services for the following projects:

  • Giyani Water Project
  • Nandoni Nsami Pipeline
  • Nwamitwa Dam
  • Tzaneen Dam
  • Polokwane (Ebenezer and Olifants)
  • Vaal Gamagara Project

These announcements by the minister follow on form his budget vote speech when he introduced his turn-around strategy to improve the optimal operations of DWS. The department faces enormous challenges of inadequate capacity for effective programme planning and co-ordination, necessary for ensuring effective project preparation, roll out and delivery to specifications, on time and within budget.