Mopani District bulk water projects questioned

 Kampersrus Water Project that has been on halt for six years.

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The Citizen

Regardless of the allocated money to the bulk water projects by the Mopani District Municipality (MDM), a lot more money is required for the projects to be fully completed.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) says that they are concerned about the lack of administrative and organisational will by MDM to complete stalled infrastructure projects dating as far back as 2013. “We wrote to the MDM municipal manager, Tshepo Mogano, to demand that the stalled and problematic projects be referred to the Municipal Public Accounts Committee (MPAC) for further probing and any alleged wrongdoing be reported to law enforcement for further investigation.

“The problematic Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) projects date back to 2018 and have a total grant allocation of over R434 million. The stalled projects in Mopani date back to 2013 and are funded by the MIG and the Regional Bulk Water Infrastructure Grant and have not been handed over to the municipality. These stalled projects are a result of poor project management and a failure to monitor the progress of projects,” said Mahlatswa Lebbeus Ramalepe, DA councillor in the MDM.

Ramalepe referred to the Hoedspruit Bulk Water Supply project which requires R99.230 million to complete. He said R41.443 million has already been spent and only R17 million is still available in the budget for the project. For the Kampersrus sewer reticulation and sewage plant project, Ramalepe said R79.559 million is required to complete the project, R68.867 million has already been spent, and only R35.302 million is available in the budget.

“We are committed to holding the municipality accountable to ensure that adequate water infrastructure services are delivered to residents without further delays,” he said. Herald contacted MDM spokesperson Odas Ngobeni about the projects. He said the MDM council has been briefed on the stalled projects. “Unfortunately, the DA missed the opportunity to make inputs at the council on how best the municipality can improve but opted to seek publicity through a media statement,” Ngobeni commented.

“Most infrastructure projects in the municipality are funded through the MIG, and these projects would be multi-year in their nature. However, we have conceded that the projects have stalled, and the council has noted the submission from the MMC, including the proposed remedial actions.” He said the municipality had spent 100% of its MIG allocation in the previous financial year (2022/23) and credited this to the collective efforts from the Power Management Unit (PMU) supported by the community structures.

He said MDM has already started with the Kampersrus sewer reticulation and sewage phase 1 project. “The sewer treatment plant was at over 80% progress while internal reticulation was at over 50% progress. Construction was stopped after the Kampersrus community approached the court and an interdict was issued to the municipality to put on hold construction work. The court order required the municipality to reroute the pipeline and conduct public participation.

The municipality is complying with this court order,” added Ngobeni. He said a delay from Eskom to connect the booster pump station has influenced the Hoedspruit Bulk Water Supply Project and the Scotia Water Reticulation Project. “The bulk water project stalled after the land for the reservoir could not be accessed. MDM has engaged with the Department of Public Works and MLM has provided new land; an engineer is currently finalising reports on the new proposed land,” he said.

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