R8 billion set aside for Umzimvubu Water Project in Eastern Cape

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R8 billion has been set aside for the Umzimvubu Water Project which has been delayed for decades in the Eastern Cape. The project includes the construction of Ntabelanga Dam.

Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu met with the Elangeni and Northern AmaMpondomise Council at Tsolo in the Eastern Cape to discuss the impact and implementation of this project.

The OR Tambo, Alfred Nzo and Joe Gqabi District Municipalities will benefit from the Umzimvubu Dam. The three municipalities have been struggling with water supply, with people having to share water from nearby springs with animals.

But once the project is successfully implemented, these issues will be a thing of the past.

The Minister says, “We are starting, the road is complete, now you see pegging, and they will start clearing both sides and then start concrete work on both sides and then go down. This is real work starting on the site of Umzimvubu dam, we are dealing with the site of Ntabelanga.”

A local leader believes that the project will help people fight poverty. Royal Kingdom spokesperson Chief Zwelethu Tyali says, “This is going to be able to assist people in being able to cultivate, through irrigation so that they are able to respond to the challenge of food security.”

Video: Billion allocated to revive long-delayed Umzimvubu Water Project in Eastern Cape

During the implementation of the first phase of the project, landowners alleged that their land had been used without their consent. Meanwhile, there are still households that have not been moved, near the pegged area.

“They sent us sketches but how the calculations come about we don’t know. They have started paying since April, they started paying some of the landowners as little as R200 and as big as R500 and really, they have not been consulting us, they just send letters,” says landowner, Llywellyn Mabandla.

Mchunu says the land matter will be addressed.

“All families, all of them, including the 12 that was there, they are going to be thoroughly engaged, their issue thoroughly dealt with in accordance with the law. In accordance with the regulations that are applicable. We will have a meeting with them this week, but it will be a meeting of the PLC.”

The twelve affected families say they hope that their grievances will get a positive response.