The traditional leadership in the Joe Gqabi, OR Tambo and Alfred Nzo District Municipalities will be fully involved in the implementation of the multibillion Mzimvubu Water Project, Minister of Water and Sanitation Senzo Mchunu said.
Following years of delay due to a deadlock about funding, the project has since been reconfigured to make it more affordable, with the cost been reduced from R18 billion to R8 billion.
During a meeting with district municipalities’ mayors and traditional leaders, Mchunu announced that the Ntabelanga Dam project, which is one of the Mzimvubu Water Project components, has since commenced its implementation in the Ntabelanga mountains, along the Tsitsa River, Tsolo, in the cross boundary of Elundini and Mhlontlo Local Municipalities in the Joe Gqabi District.
Stage one of the dam component, which includes the construction of access roads to the dam wall site, is currently sitting at over 90%, while pegging of the dam wall site, identification and pegging of land and households that will be affected by the dam impoundment, is underway.
Other components of the Ntabelanga project include construction of a water treatment plant, primary and secondary reservoirs, and bulk pipelines for treatment, transfer and storage of potable water to enable the water services authorities to reticulate to communities earmarked to benefit from the project.
According to Mchunu, “the overall Mzimvubu water project will look at the existing water supply schemes within the Mzimvubu Catchment Area, in order to optimise and harness them to benefit the communities in the three districts.”
The Minister said that the resuscitation of the multibillion Mzimvubu project confirms that people in rural areas also have constitutional human rights, which include the right to have access to clean, potable water for their basic needs.
He made a strong appeal to the stakeholders and government authorities to make sure that there are no more hindrances to the progress of this project.
To ensure transparency and prevent unnecessary disruptions and delays, Mchunu said all relevant stakeholder representatives are going to form part of the Political Steering Committee which he will co-chair with Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane.