The Giyani Bulk Water supply project in Limpopo, which has already cost taxpayers more than R2.2 billion, will need an additional R4.5 billion for completion, with residents in the area threatening mass action if things don’t improve soon.
Lepelle Northern Water chief executive Phineas Legodi told residents of the drought-stricken area the department of water and sanitation (DWS) had already massively exceeded its budget for the project during phase one.
The new massive cash boost was the only way to end their woes, he said.
The project was initiated by former president Jacob Zuma in 2014. It was later commissioned by former minister Nomvula Mokonyane in August the same year.
It started with a budget of R502 million but the scope of work ballooned and the budget swelled to R3.5 billion.
The project is currently stalled owing to the protracted payment squabble between the service provider delivering the project and the DWS.
A fortnight ago, the service provider, Khato Civils, left the site after claiming that the department owed the company R44 million. As a result it retrenched more than 100 employees and parted ways with 26 subcontractors.
“They were contracted to deliver phase one, which deals with drawing water from Nsami Dam to reservoirs,” Legodi said yesterday.
Government needed to move with speed to bring tapped water to Giyani, he said.
Yesterday the thirsty residents of Giyani pleaded with Limpopo premier Stanley Mathabatha to intervene in the payment squabble.
They also demanded that Mathabatha ensure the commencement of phase two before Christmas.
Residents in Makoxa village threatened to boycott the 2019 general election if the department failed to settle Khato Civils’ invoice and start with phase two.
Chairperson for the Giyani Business Forum Patrick Ritshuri called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to intervene.
Stakeholders yesterday briefed Minister Gugile Nkwinti about plans to save the project from the brink of collapse.
The briefing comes after Ramaphosa allegedly asked Nkwinti to prevent the project from collapsing.