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The Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation is disappointed with the progress made towards completing the Giyani Bulk Water Project.

The committee visited the area as a follow-up to the work of the previous portfolio committee in the fifth Parliament and was hopeful that the identified villages would be benefiting from the project by now.

“We left Giyani dejected by the state of affairs, as villagers continue to suffer the hardship of lack of water despite the huge investment that has been made through the fiscus. It is unacceptable that the people of Giyani have not experienced tangible impact proportional to the investment made,” said Ms Machwene Semenya, the Chairperson of the committee.

The committee is also disappointed to hear that the information that 22 of the 55 villages were receiving water, as provided by the implementing agent, Lepelle Northern Water, and the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) was incorrect.

“We intentionally requested to visit some of the 22 villages to see first-hand the provision of water. Unfortunately, we were met with dry taps. We have thus concluded that the report was inaccurate,” Ms Semenya emphasised.

The committee notes the work that is continuing in the area, as a result of additional funds given to the department to conclude the work. Furthermore, the committee notes the intention to finish the work by September 2020. The committee will monitor the implementation of this plan and will periodically call Lepelle Northern Water, the Department of Water and Sanitation as well as Mopani District Municipality to encourage compliance with the completion date.

The committee has raised major concerns with the planning of the project. Information derived from the interaction highlighted that there are gaps in terms of cooperation between the DWS, Lepelle Northern Water and Mopani district, which created many inefficiencies.

“The committee found it unacceptable that while bulk infrastructure was being developed by Lepelle Northern Water, the Mopani District Municipality had not made provision to develop reticulation infrastructure to take the water from reservoirs to households. The committee has instructed all parties to heighten collaboration to eliminate any disjuncture,” Ms Semenya emphasised.         

The committee’s major preoccupation is ensuring that the people of Giyani receive water. To this end, it will intensify its monitoring and evaluation of the project. The committee has called for a recommitment of engagement with traditional leaders and communities to remove any disagreements that might exist between the parties, which may be impacting on the completion of the project.

The committee is today engaging with the department to assess the state of water provision in the entire Limpopo Province.

The committee will also use this engagement to get further information on the Giyani Water Project in order to enable efficient oversight.

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