In a country where water is such a scarce and precious resource, it is scandalous that the ANC government has let down the people who voted for it by allowing a major water project in Limpopo to grind to a halt because it has not paid the contractors.
Ironically, former president Jacob Zuma and his acolyte, the then minister of water affairs and sanitation, Nomvula Mokonyane, launched the R3.5 billion project in 2014.
It all began with a budget of R500 million, but this quickly spiralled upwards in a process which opposition parties have alleged was the ANC’s way of siphoning off government money to fund its election campaigns.
The company delivering the project pulled out this week after government failed to pay R63 million in outstanding bills. As a result, more than 1 500 workers and 26 subcontractors are now unemployed.
The water department promises that it is taking steps to rectify the situation, but that will be cold comfort to those affected by the closure of the project (even if it is temporary).
We hope that this will not turn out to be another opportunity lost to improve the lives of ordinary people – workers and rural dwellers – because of incompetence … or worse.