The Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) department under the leadership of MEC, Sipho Hlomuka has transferred R19 million in grant funding to the Ugu District Municipality as part of efforts to improve the provision of water within the District.

The money will be used for repairing the Bhobhoyi water scheme (St Helen’s Rock) which requires major upgrades to the tune of R15 million. The rest of the grant is for the drilling of 12 boreholes in the uMuziwabantu and uMzumbe local municipalities.

Through the rollout of the grant, the department aims to stabilise the provision of water within the district which has faced severe water constraints.

The grant follows a rigorous assessment of water infrastructure that was done by technicians from Cogta in conjunction with their counterparts from the District.

Today, 1 January, MEC Hlomuka together with the MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Mr Ravi Pillay and the MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison Ms Peggy Nkonyeni, convened a special meeting of the Ugu Water Inter-Ministerial task team, where they received progress reports from District’s delegation which was led by the Mayor Cllr Phumlile Mthiyane. The meeting was also attended by officials from the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agency and the HOD Champion of the District under Operation Sukuma Sakhe, Dr Thobile Sifunda who is the HOD for the department of Sports and Recreation, who was there on behalf of the MEC Champion Ms Nonhlanhla Khoza, MEC for the department of Social Development.

The reports tabled by the municipality before the task team shows that currently, demand exceeds supply across all the water systems within the district. The municipality proposed a mix-use approach that requires more investment in boreholes, spring protection, rainwater harvesting and desalination to complement the conventional methods of water supply.

The Task-Team resolved for the Ugu District to embark on an extensive outreach programme to communities to raise awareness about the water challenges and to enforce water-saving measures which include the reporting of water leaks. The task team also called for greater transparency between the District and communities on water provision.

During the meeting, MEC Hlomuka directed the municipality to convene a special council meeting to consider the election of Portfolio Committee Chairpersons and for the municipality to fast track the appointment of the CFO. Hlomuka also raised concerns with the delays in the implementation of the upgrades to the Eskom power lines in the Umtamvuna pump station. The MEC called for the fast tracking of the project which will improve security of supply. The project is projected to be completed by June 2022.

The provincial government through the department of Cogta continues to provide support measures to the District municipality which are aimed at improving the functionality of the municipality and its ability to provide service delivery to communities. This includes the provision of technical, governance and financial experts.

Issued by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.