E Cape collaborates to accelerate access to drinking water

The MEC explained that RATU trains locals workers and procures material for the construction of the project.

Devdiscourse News Desk | Pretoria | Updated: 22-02-2024 18:35 IST | Created: 22-02-2024 18:35 IST
E Cape collaborates to accelerate access to drinking water
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  • South Africa

The Eastern Cape Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform (DRDAR) has joined forces with Chris Hani District Municipality (CHDM) to accelerate access to clean drinking water in rural communities, using the cost-effective rollout of spring water projects in the province.

DRDAR MEC Nonkqubela Pieters and Chris Hani District Municipality Executive Mayor Lusanda Sizani, have officially handed over a spring water project that will benefit five villages in the Manzana administrative area, outside eNgcobo. The community has been battling to access safe drinking water.

Pieters said the programme, implemented by the department’s Rural Appropriation Technology Unit (RATU), is cost-effective because no tenders were issued for the construction of the project. However, local people are trained to do maintenance work when the need arises.

“In this programme, we do not have a middleman or spend millions on contractors for something that will not be operational. We employ and train local people and in that way, we create the opportunities for people to fend for their families,” Pieters said. 

The MEC explained that RATU trains locals workers and procures material for the construction of the project.

“In delivering these spring water protection projects, DRDAR identifies nearby hills and mountains with spring water [that is channeled]... for use by households,” Pieters said.

She said during the implementation of the Manzana project, which is set to benefit at least 1 220 villagers, about 75 people including 61 youth, seven women and seven men were employed and trained. 

Pieters said the department will use the District Development Model (DDM) to work with the municipality to ensure the smooth rollout of spring water projects, taking advantage of the more than 250 natural springs in the district.

“We are in agreement with the executive mayor that all these springs will be utilised to bring water to all the people of Chris Hani District, who do not have access to water while they have spring water in their villages. 

“They will now have access to clean drinking water because the implementation of the programme will be accelerated. We will reach more communities through this collaboration with the municipality,” Pieters said. The delivery of the spring water protection projects marks the completion of infrastructure work done by the department in various rural communities, which will now have reliable access to clean drinking water and agricultural activities.

To date, Pieters said, a total of 757 water taps have been installed in 36 villages across the province, benefitting 8 781 households, including four schools, one clinic and one youth co-operative. 

“The department has [also] implemented 17 spring water protection projects that are contributing towards community development with an investment of R14 765 million benefiting 4 123 households, and creating 967 temporary jobs,” the MEC said. Sizani said with the district municipality being both a Water Services Authority (WSA) and provider, water supply that is pumped with generators to serve communities is expensive compared to the department's method of drawing water, using natural springs, to communal taps and households. 

“We are a rural district, which is leaning towards the agricultural sector potential for growth, hence we are partnering with the department to bring water to the people for both consumption and agricultural activities. Through this programme, we aim to achieve agriculture development prosperity,” Sizani said.

Local farmer, Viwe Gidimisani, said when the spring water project construction started in his village, he was inspired to start his vegetable production business, banking on using water from the spring for irrigation. 

Gidimisani received a new hose pipe, wheelbarrow, spade, fork spade, hand hoe, and various vegetable seedlings from government, as part of ongoing efforts to support villagers to produce their own food. 

“This will help my enterprise to grow more, and it will give me strength to improve the productivity of my business. I am happy that water supply is always available, unlike in the past where we battled to get water," Gidimisani said.

Gidimisani is now able to grow his enterprise and owns a hawker’s stand, where he sells his spinach and cabbage produce to his neighbours and local buyers in town. 

(With Inputs from South African Government Press Release)

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