SOUTH AFRICA celebrates 3 million new water recipients since 1994

South Africa celebrated the 3 millionth recipient of water since 1994, on Saturday 16 January. The 3 millionth target is being met with the Kwandebele Moutse Moretele Water Augmentation Project, launched on Saturday. The occasion will also mark the inauguration of the Ikangala Water Board.

The R185 million (euro 26.7 million) Kwandebele Moutse Moretele Water Augmentation Project has been co-funded by a loan from the Japanese Overseas Economic Co-operation Fund. The establishment of the Ikangala Water Board has been supported by the British Department for International Development.

While it took three years for the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF) to provide the one millionth person with safe, clean water in May 1997, service delivery has accelerated since then. The 3 millionth target was reached in a little over half the time. This was due to programmes being properly set up and implemented, drawing on lessons from on-going evaluation of Departmental and other projects.

“We’re doing it differently,” says Prof Asmal of the DWAF, who says sustainability is ensured through the extensive institutional development framework that the Department has put in place. This mobilises people to participate actively in the management of their water services. The Department empowers local government to operate and manage the water services infrastructure by creating bodies such as water boards to assist where needed. Cost recovery is being put in place on the project as part of this process.

The Kwandebele Moutse Moretele Water augmentation Project, which benefits approximately 1 million people, provided valuable skills training leading to more than a hundred local jobs on construction. It also trained local entrepreneurs to carry out contracts.

The project is among the 1 020 targeting in total, 4,8 million people all over South Africa from 1994 to date, at a cost, to date, of R2,2 billion (euro 317 million). The RDP projects have to date provided a total of 250,000 temporary construction jobs.

On 17 February, Prof Asmal will announce the next water services delivery programme. He says of the Saturday’s celebration: “It is through the active participation of communities, local and provincial government, the private sector and NGOs, that all this has been possible. We merely pause to salute the 3 millionth recipient, then we press on.”

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