Giyani Water Project halted again

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The multi-billion-rand Giyani Bulk Water Project has come to a halt yet again.

A local business forum closed down two construction sites demanding to be awarded tenders.

National, provincial and local authorities have been engaging with the forum to ensure a swift resumption of the project.

First commissioned in 2014, the project has been marred with constant work stoppages over the years.

Phase one of the project which saw the construction of a pipeline from Nandoni to Nsami Dam, which cost the taxpayer R3.2 million.

The current phase aims to move water from Nsami to 55 water scarce villages around Giyani.

A tussle over a R58 million sub-contract to supply two construction site offices has led to yet another delay.

A local business forum believes they have been overlooked, despite promises by the government that they would be prioritised for sub-contracts.

President of the Greater Giyani Chamber of Commerce Vusi Chauke says, “There were plants which was required by the department but none of the people of Giyani are playing a part in that. The only people who are playing a part are people who are coming from outside and you can see them supplying the plant to a certain department is not a skill or specialised work, it can be done by anyone and even the people who are outside from Giyani. They are also out-sourcing this plant from somewhere else and delivering it to construction which people of Giyani can also do that. So, why are we not given the opportunity to play a part in this economy.”

While this happens, taps in most affected villages remain dry.

At Dzingidzing village, pipelines have been laid in most streets but don’t have water.

However, residents say they continue to rely on water bought from those with boreholes.

“The situation has worsened since they started with the construction, before that there would be drops coming out periodically, but now we are forced to buy water all the time. I pay R300 for a Jojo tank every week, money that I don’t have. We suffer immensely here, if you don’t have money, you can’t bath or drink water.”

Water and Sanitation spokesperson Wisane Mavasa says they want the challenge to be resolved swiftly.

“The department has been engaging the forum to explain that the tender was not only meant for Giyani but it was also for construction work that is currently under way in Tzaneen as well as [other] municipalities, this was a result of a competitive process in the hope of finding one another as the delays are going to cause another setback for the timelines that have been set for the completion of this project and the delivery of water to the communities that are meant to benefit from this project.”

Officials from the Department of Water and Sanitation, the MEC of COGHSTA, Basikopo Makamu, executive mayor of the Mopani District municipality, alongside mayor of the Greater Giyani municipality, Thandi Zitha, are meeting with representatives of the Greater Giyani Chamber of Commerce to map a way forward. – Reporting by Rendani Raliphaswa