19 September 2018


Nkwinti condemns Hartebeespoort Dam pollution

by: SAnews.gov.za   date: 22 july 2018

Water and Sanitation Minister, Gugile Nkwinti, has warned that as long as the conditions in communities around the water sources do not change, there will always be difficulties that go on forever.
“Upstream must be properly identified as to where the pollution emanates from. Technical teams must inform politicians accordingly,” Minister Nkwinti said.
The Minister was addressing officials during a site visit at the Northern Operations office of the department, situated at the Hartebeespoort Dam.
The Minister paid a first visit to the Hartebeespoort Dam on Friday morning to receive an on-site briefing on operations around the dam, one of the department’s critical infrastructures in the North West province.
The Hartebeespoort Dam is strategic as it receives the inflow from both the City of Johannesburg and City of Tshwane.
It also forms part of the Mokolo-Crocodile Project still under conceptualization, and it is a source for the Brits Water Treatment Works, crucial for Madibeng Local Municipality.
Source of discontent
The briefing centered around issues of water quality and land matters, which have become a source of discontent within the community and affecting tourism which was critical for the economic activity in the area.
In his remarks, Nkwinti said the issue of the state of the dam was raised mainly at the Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation, and also in the media.
“As a member of the Presidential Infrastructure Co-coordinating Commission (PICC), I also receive lots of reports on old infrastructure and particularly dams, Harties being one of those that are mainly referred to, especially the pollution in the water. This visit is meant to listen to officials working with and on the dam, and also see the conditions for myself,” he said.
The presentation on Friday detailed the life of the dam from inception and all matters affecting the dam, including population growth, old and ageing infrastructure, complex socio-economic conditions in township settlements, such as failing infrastructure, as well as land matters.
The presentation also highlighted the need for the infrastructure in municipalities upstream of the dam to ensure that they comply with license conditions.
There is a possibility that the review of licenses will assist in ensuring such compliance, through sufficiently treated effluent together with properly operating wastewater treatment works, to reduce treatment costs for the Madibeng Local Municipality.
Change attitude
Nkwinti urged officials to change their attitude and “release themselves”.
“Officials of the department underestimate themselves. This is something that I am observing as I go around the country and engage with officials.
“We must also get rid of the silo mentality as dictated by red tape. This is a systemic challenge that can only be changed by officials themselves. As a Minister, I need to be informed about the technical training officials have undergone,” he said.
He added that such meetings had to happen quarterly and must be hosted by the municipality to enhance the concept of working together.
The Economic Development, Tourism and Agriculture Member of the Mayoral Committee, DS Maimane, welcomed the Minister’s visit, saying it would enhance the cooperation between the department and the municipality.
“The issue of access to the dam also has racial undertones which cannot be accepted. There is also information the municipality received about the possibility of a land claim, which might impact on the dam and its use. We would like to see you more Minister so that we can move together,” Maimane told Nkwinti.