Slowy delivery of infrastructure projects of concern- Committee
January 31, 2018
Parliament, South Africa: The Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation says it has noted that there are backlogs in the provision of water and sanitation and has called for the strengthening of capacity to implemented planned projects funded through the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) in Mpumalanga.
The committee raised concerns with the slow implementation of projects funded through the MIG in Mpumalanga whilst undertaking a three-day oversight visit to the province to assess implementation of water and sanitation projects.
Chairperson of the committee, Mlungisi Johnson said: “While the Committee acknowledges that there has been a steady increase in access to water and sanitation, it emphasised that for as long as there are MIG funds that are unspent they will remain concerned.”
The Provincial Department of Cooperative Governance informed the committee that between 2011 and 2016 the number of households with access to water increased by 16%.
He added: “While 93% of the R6.83 billion in MIG funding has been spent by Mpumalanga municipalities, R493 million has not been spent. The Committee noted that there are backlogs in the provision of water and sanitation.”
Johnson further stated that the non-implementation of projects has both human rights and economic implications, as people are denied access to water and sanitation and job opportunities are not realised.
“The 2 572 jobs created through infrastructure projects for the 2017/2018 financial year is only 42% of the projected jobs. Furthermore, the delay of planned projects puts additional pressure of existing infrastructure that is unable to meet the growing demand. Directly linked to this is the suspect quality of water in the province. The latest provincial Blue Drop score, which assesses water quality, was only 69.9% in the province.
“It is also concerning that 51% waste water treatment works in the province are overloaded, resulting in poor effluent quality,” asserted Johnson.
The Committee criticised the slow response by the national departments of Water and Sanitation, Rural Development and Land Reform in introducing a Bill to finally dealt with the issue of water-use licence transfers, especially in relation to land reform projects.
“The Committee has for a while called the departments to table the Bill so that it can be processed by the Committee, in order to ensure an enabling environment for beneficiaries. The Committee is still keen to process the Bill,” concluded Johnson.