The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs affirmed the adages “water is life” and “sanitation is dignity” on the eve of the start of National Water Week, as the KZN COGTA MEC Bongiwe Sithole-Moloi launched the multimillion rand eMacambini Water Scheme and the Groutville sanitation scheme amongst other service delivery projects launched at Ilembe District Municipality on Tuesday.

The day started with the launch of the sanitation scheme at Groutville which is set to provide a waterbourne sewerage system to about 1000 households in the area.

The next stop was the launch of the multifaceted, multimillion rand eMacambini water scheme which is set to benefit thousands of rural households from eMacambini, eNdondakusuka, kwaMangethe and eMhlubulweni.

These projects are a profound departure from the apartheid era where rural communities could only dream about waterbourne sewerage systems and running water in their homes.

Other projects launched include a Community hall in ward 13 and a Communal swimming pool at eMandeni.

While the communities are set to benefit from all these projects, the projects have also injected much needed economic relief to some of the small and emerging businesses in the area and they have also brought employment opportunities for other residents.

Launching the scheme, MEC Sithole-Moloi explained that the department was utilising the Municipal Infrastructure Grant to respond to the needs of the people, particularly water provision. The department aims to launch similar schemes in various districts as part of the government’s commitment to providing clean water.

“This water scheme produces 30,000 megalitres per day, and the department had budgeted almost R500 million for the project. We are taking advantage of the Uthukela River across the province. This project will ensure that all households in the area of Mandeni receive clean water. As a government, we have prioritised water provision as a basic need.

We are also encouraging all municipalities to utilise all their grants for water projects to ensure every household has access to water. We are also building sanitation schemes as the department works together with water authorities. March is when we celebrate Human Rights, and the most fundamental right is access to clean water as a basic need. We saw it fit to launch these projects during this month, which also recognizes the importance of water. Phase 5D is currently underway to be completed in 2024.

This will also increase its capacity and the number of beneficiaries. Over 200 people benefited from jobs during the construction phase. Over 20 Small Medium-Micro enterprises also benefited as they were part of the construction,” she said.

MEC Sithole-Moloi went on to launch the R38 million Groutville Sanitation Scheme, which will connect 900 households to the sewer line. With most residents in Groutville, including public facilities, schools, and businesses, not on waterborne sanitation as they either use pit toilets or VIPs or septic tanks, the newly completed sanitation scheme marks the beginning of a new era.

“The area is experiencing rapid growth, and there are several existing and planned high-density residential developments for the area. The current sanitation systems are not desirable and will not sustain the area soon; the situation is worsened by the vast environmentally sensitive areas, including several rivers and streams. This water sanitation will bring relief,” she added.

MEC Sithole-Moloi wrapped up the day with the official handover of the Sundumbili Swimming Pool and Community Hall, which will assist the community with recreational services while supporting small businesses as it will attract people to the area.