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Speeches by Deputy Minister Pamela Tshwete: Water and Sanitation Dept Budget Vote 2016/17

11 May 2016

Theme: "Together advancing people`s power in every in community".

Honourable Speaker
Deputy President of the Republic
Ministers and Deputy Ministers
Honourable Chairperson and Members of the Portfolio Committee
Honourable Members of Parliament
Chairpersons of Water Boards and other Water Entities
Chief Executives of Water Boards and other Water Sector Entities
Chairpersons of Water and Sanitation Community Forums
Honoured Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

1. Introduction

1.1. The history of South Africa has been a history of racial segregation and separate development. The provision of municipal services before 1994 was only restricted to white areas.

1.2. In the black residential areas, services such as water and sanitation were provided through communal taps and toilet facilities whilst in the rural areas black people were to provide for themselves from the unprotected river sources.

1.3. Honourable Speaker allow me to join many South Africans in saluting the heroic struggles waged by Women in this country against many Apartheid Laws as we celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the historic march to the Union Building in 1956.

1.4. Honourable Speaker also allow me to also honour the class of 1976 students who rose their voices against the Bantu Education system as we celebrate the 40th Anniversary struggles by the young people who defied bullets and death unleashed on them by the deadly Apartheid regime.

1.5. Noting that this is the month of workers, this budget Honourable Speaker has accordingly been crafted to focus on the empowerment and development of the working class, the youth and women in our country.

1.6. It is meant to respond more to the social transformation of both rural and urban communities through the creation of much needed jobs and sustainable water services.

1.7. Budgets Honourable Members must be understood as tools for planning, execution, monitoring and evaluation in the process to facilitate and provide decent services equally and equitably to society.

2. 2015/16 Financial Year Highlights

2.1. In the last financial year the Department assembled women in Gauteng from the length and breadth of our country to engage them on mechanisms and strategies in the development of water and sanitation infrastructure. These women represented planners in government, public representatives, community based organisation, non-governmental organisations, academic institutions, women in water and sanitation and the business sector. These women are now working with the Department as part of the Women Incubator Programme.

2.2. Honourable Speaker I am pleased to report in this House that the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation will be presenting the Water Research Commission with the 2016 Water Award, for outstanding commitment to providing sustainable access to water resource, water supply and sanitation in South Africa on 30 June 2016.

2.3. Once again in the last financial year we held a very successful National Youth Summit at Birchwood in Johannesburg which was attended by more than 1000 delegates representing educators, learners, young water and sanitation professionals, youth service organisations, water and sanitation ambassadors and the business sector.

2.4. The Cooperation and Collaboration of the Department with various provinces, municipalities and the business sector ensured continued provision of water in areas that were severely affected by the drought especially in KwaZulu Natal, Mpumalanga and the Free State.

2.5. The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, has now called on municipalities to set aside up to eight percent of their operational budgets for the maintenance of water and sanitation infrastructure.

2.6. We have always maintained that government cannot work alone and to that effect we are grateful for the citizenship that has been displayed by various Business Partners in providing relief to drought stricken areas of our country. Operation Hydrate has to date supplied over 3 million litres of drinking water to various communities at Peddie in the Eastern Cape and in Winburg in the Free State.

2.7. Also Business Partners in the construction industry have made undertaking to contribute to skills development in the water sector as part of youth empowerment.

2.8. In partnership with Business Partners once again we have exposed and connected more than 3500 learners and 100 educators into the latest technology. The following schools were the winners in 2015:

 

NAME OF SCHOOL PRIZE CATEGORY PROVINCE
Mmulakgoro Primary School Media Classroom R 10 000. 00 Poetry Free State
Zibungu Junior Secondary School Media Classroom R 10 000. 00 Praise Poetry Eastern Cape
Reilmoletswe Primary School Media Classroom R 10 000. 00 Drama Gauteng
Izwilesizwe Primary School Media Classroom R 10 000. 00 Music KwaZulu Natal
Amstelhof Primary School Media Classroom R 10 000. 00 Poster Western Cape

2.9. The Civil Society Partnerships established during the last financial year resulted in the development of Water and Sanitation Community Forums in 21 of the 27 distressed Municipalities. This work will continue in this financial year. These Forums will be underpinned by common Terms of Reference adopted at a national level.

2.10. Through our newly established Water and Sanitation Hotline, members of the public will have a central point where they can access information and register water and sanitation service challenges.

2.11. The Hotline will ensure speedy response and improved customer satisfaction levels. The Toll Free Number is 0800 200 200 and the SMS Number is 45174 and is accessible between 06am and 10pm weekdays and 08am to 04pm on weekends.

2.12. The War on Leaks Programme was launched in Nelson Mandela Bay on August 2015 and currently has about 3000 trainees that are in the system as plumbers, water agents and artisans. At the beginning the project experienced some challenges which included the following:

  • There were long distances between the training facilities and areas of residence of some trainees
  • Trainee recruitment was based on responses received from the national advertisements.
  • The recruitment of trainees was not aligned to priority municipalities.

Some trainees confused this training with employment.

2.13. These have since been resolved and our recent visit to Mpumalanga has shown that both the administration and trainees in the facilities are happy that the Minister and the Honourable State President brought this War on Leaks Training Programme.

3. Global Strategic Engagements

3.1. The Department in its quest to deliver water and sanitation to our people, considered the importance of forging relations with strategic global partners as they are critical to advance not only South Africa`s own development needs but also to alleviate domestic challenges encountered by our region.

3.2. In the past financial year the department prioritised engagements based on Foreign Strategic Policy of the country lead by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation. These were interventions to share expertise, transfer skills, technology, share notes and collaborate on multilateral platforms and invest in the water sector development programmes.

3.3. Some of the active, successful result bearing engagements are with, China, Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden, Russia, Iran, Italy Cuba. Through these partnerships, South Africa`s Water and Sanitation sector will enhance and broaden our scope on water mix and maximise the use of ground water.

3.4. The expertise from the different countries also contribute immensely in providing different perspectives in areas including protection and management of water infrastructure and facilities, water treatment technologies, including water planning and governance.

3.5. We are happy to report that this multilateral participation at the highest level will allow South Africa to influence the Global agenda and narrative on Water, and further enhance the Africa position derived from Agenda 2063 and our own National Development Plan and its related indicators and priorities.

4. QUALITY OF WATER SERVICES

4.1.The quality of water services operations in the South Africa is reflected in the blue and green results. Most municipalities are now active participants in the Blue Drop certification and Green Drop assessments of the potable water and waste water.

4.2. The quality of drinking water has significantly improved for the better and the management of the waste water has greatly reduced raw sewer spillages into the rivers. This has been done through the rehabilitation of the waste water treatment plants across the country.

4.3. Where the Cumulative Risk Rating for municipalities is still high, these municipalities are supported to improve performance through funding and technical advice.

5. DROUGHT MITIGATING STRATEGIES

5.1.The recent drought conditions in the country mobilised all the Water Services Authorities to audit their infrastructure to plan for improved infrastructure and use of modern technology in the water provision and sanitation services.

5.2.The Department currently have detailed water and sanitation services needs and plans integrated into the 2016/2017 financial year budget plans. These are also accompanied with the new technological innovations.

For example the Department together with the departments of Energy and COGTA visited two pilot sites where an Integrated Waste Water Treatment and Reuse Package Plant Technology is being piloted. These pilot projects are in the Sundays River Valley (Sarah Baartman) and Inxuba Yethemba (Chris Hani) Municipalities.

5.2.1. This new Integrated Waste Water Treatment and Reuse Package Technological System has an instant use capability which enables it to directly discharge water that helps to replenish the natural water resource.

5.2.2. Secondly this available water resource from this new technology could now be used for irrigation, community landscaping, construction and fire fighting.

5.2.3.Thirdly the available water resource could be pumped back into the households for toilet flushing, house cleaning, car wash, gardening and urban farming.

5.3. The drought mitigating strategies also included new campaigns such as Drop a Block Product which is based on the principle of dispensing just enough water to enable the flushing of the toilets instead of using 9 litres of water to flush.

5.4. The Drop a Block Product reduces the amount of water used per household, the money spent on water bills, the impact of cleaning water for potable use and the cost of getting water to consumers.

5.5. This product has resulted in annual potable water saving of more than 5000 litres per household. The pilot of this technique has further assisted 2000 households in the Western Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

5.6. In our continued engagements with municipalities, we have observed that there still some communities located very far from water sources especially in the rural areas and informal settlements.

5.7. In these communities many people carry water to their homes often over long distances, pay heavy fees for the transportation and this has proved to be time consuming especially to the girl child.

5.8. In dealing with this challenge of burdening communities with the provision of water from the dams, rivers and central water taps, the Department has introduced Water on Wheels Technologies.

5.9.The Department will invest effort and resources in the provision of technologies such as wheelbarrows fitted with water containers, hippo water rollers and others. These will be distributed in partnership with the municipalities.

5.10. All consumers need to be conscious of the consequences of their actions with regard to water use. These are some of the Water Saving Tips. We must fix leaking taps, reuse water for flushing toilets and gardening, collect water from rain, plant indigenous plants and do not leave taps running when brushing teeth.

5.11. Last year, the Government set up an Inter-Ministerial Committee to develop strategies to mitigate the country`s worst drought in more than 20 years. The Inter-Ministerial-Committee on Water Scarcity and Drought is headed by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and is supported by Water and Sanitation, Environmental Affairs, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and Rural Development and Land Reform.

5.12.The Inter-Ministerial-Committee has been able to provide drought relief funds on water-stressed areas implement drought measures, avail water through water tankering and drilling of boreholes, and to raise awareness about water conservation.

5.13. The Inter-Ministerial-Committee has been able to clarify that drought is a natural phenomenon not controlled by anyone. In fact, we do not know when the drought will dissipate, we know only that it has forced Government to urgently attend to the demand for water, infrastructure constraints, review innovative options for water schemes and storage, and aid under-capacitated municipalities that are unable to meet the service delivery requirements of their communities. We appreciate the fact that the Inter-Ministerial-Committee`s response to drought relief programmes has exceeded one billion rand.

5.14.The Department of Water and Sanitation has reprioritised more than half a billion rand to provide water, protect natural springs and refurbish boreholes in response to the drought.

5.15. The Department of Agriculture has offered drought relief funding to the tune of R381 million rand especially since the water shortage has an impact on national food security and job creation.

5.16. The Department of Environmental Affairs has waged a strong battle to contain the effects of climate change, effects that cannot necessarily be reversed, but which we must constantly be aware of.

5.17. The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform has embarked on projects related to rehabilitation of productive land and through these projects has ensured job creation and greater food security.

6. 2016/2017 BUDGET FOCUS

6.1. Presently, the Department is collating consolidated data on the water and sanitation services backlogs in the country. In this financial year all District Municipalities in the country will be engaged to collect this data and avail budgeted plans for infrastructure development. This data collection will be done through interactions in meetings with District Municipalities and Provinces. This will be used in the development of the Water and Sanitation Plans.

6.2. This will be coupled with provincial water and sanitation Conferences. These Conferences will be platforms to continuously share the vision of the Department and mobilise districts to work together with local municipalities and other stakeholders in their jurisdiction.

6.3.In these Conferences together with the Water Research Commission and Water Boards, the Department will allow new partners in the water and sanitation space to showcase and present new technologies in the market that could assist in alleviating water and sanitation challenges.

6.4. The 2020 Vision for Water and Sanitation Programme aimed at educating schools about water conservation, sanitation and promotion of water sector careers will be enhanced. Provinces will be required to demonstrate their footprint of this project in each local municipality.

6.5. To date the Department has reached over 5000 schools. Of these 1500 are actively participants in the water saving mechanisms and 75 are water project schools, specifically dealing with water and sanitation access, health and hygiene, greening, water quality and quantity.

6.6. The War on Leaks Programme aimed at eradicating water leaks whilst creating jobs for the youth will in this financial year take in additional 7000 trainees into the system. The 3000 trainees who were part of the 2015 intake will be placed in training institutions closer to their homes and in service training be arranged with their local municipalities.

6.7. The Adopt a River Project aimed at addressing pollution in the rivers whilst empowering women through job creation and skills development will be sourced with resources such as personnel that will oversee the project implementation and with funding for provisioning of the project.

6.8. This project will be assisted to work with communities, municipalities and the Departmental regional offices in the cleaning of rivers.

6.9. In 2016 all our efforts will be directed at mitigating the severe drought conditions that have been experienced recently. The Department will ensure that the challenges of water and sanitation are tackled by all caring and freedom loving South Africans going forward.

6.10. In 2016, the Integrated Waste Water Treatment and Reuse Package Plant Technology that is deployed in Sundays River Valley and Chris Hani municipalities will be closely monitored. This will be selectively expanded across the country to other municipalities in distress as part of piloting the technology, whilst mitigating challenges faced by these municipalities.

6.11. Through these new technologies, the department must ensure that youth and women are absorbed into the mainstream of the economic activities and trained to operate and maintain these technologies.

6.12. The Department of Water and Sanitation has put plans in place with all provinces to ensure that infrastructure constraints are unplugged, municipalities are supported, and that the people have water. Minister and I have experienced the fact that water is a powerful cross-cutter and that without water there can be no life.

6.13. The economy will be developed by creating more jobs through infrastructure projects that the department will unfold in areas such as:

  • Construction and rehabilitation pipelines.
  • Raising of old dams.
  • Upgrading of old and construction of new waste water treatment works
  • Upgrading of existing and construction of bulk water supply
  • Expansion of old and construction of new water works
  • Deployment of new technologies in the fields of waste water treatment and water treatment works

6.14. These infrastructure development projects will be consolidated with communities through functional Water and Sanitation Community Forums in Municipalities and similar developmental Forums at a provincial level for immediate implementation.

7. In conclusion

7.1. As part of ongoing partnership with civil society, the department would like to thank all organisations who collaborated with in the various programmes.

7.2. Some of these civil society organisations worked hard and brought humanitarian relief to drought affected communities.

7.3. Some of these organisations, assisted in the development of skills so much required in the resolution of many barriers in the provision of water and sanitation services.

7.4. These were voluntary services and in that regard, we express our sincere gratitude.

7.5. Honourable Speaker, please allow me to thank the Minister, the Portfolio Committee Chairperson, Members of the Portfolio Committee for guidance and support throughout the year as we were implementing the operational plans of the Department.

7.6. Lastly let me thank the Departmental officials and those in the Municipalities for their cooperation at all times and continuous technical support and advice in our work when our country witnessed water shortages in a number of dams and schemes especially in significantly affected provinces such as KwaZulu Natal, Free State and the North West.

I support the budget.

Thank you

     
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