The Department of Water and Sanitation’s construction unit has been given the go ahead to start construction work on the project to raise the Clanwilliam Dam wall.

This follows an announcement by Minster of Water and Sanitation Gugile Nkwinti during his inaugural Budget Vote speech that the project would commence within five months of that announcement.

The project, which has been on the national department’s books as an essential water augmentation project for about a decade, involves the raising of the dam wall by 13.5 metres and is expected to treble the dam’s holding capacity, increasing the amount of water available for agriculture and creating jobs.

Critical project

Commenting on the project at the sod turning ceremony last week Western Cape Premier Helen Zille “If we were here in periods earlier than May this year, I would have thought that there was a funeral due to the low level of the dam.

“We met with Minister Nkwinti and discussed what can be done with agriculture if this critical project can go ahead. We are mighty grateful for the Minister having taken the decision to go ahead with the project,” she added.

Training and registration

Minister Nkwinti noted that the department will engage with the Construction SETA to ensure training and registration of for those people from historically disadvantaged backgrounds who will receive jobs through the project.

“When we say we need even the 30% set aside, in the main we find that those that are identified are not trained,” he explained.

Nkwinti added that because the water was for domestic, business and agricultural uses the department would work boldly towards the finalisation of the project within the time-frame envisaged.