“The raising of the Clanwilliam Dam will commence in October this year, at an estimated cost of R2.5 billion,” newly appointed Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane told MPs on Tuesday, opening the debate in Parliament on her department’s budget.
However, according to the 2014 Estimates of National Expenditure, tabled in February this year by then finance minister Pravin Gordhan, the total estimated budget for the project was R2.2 billion.
This figure itself was 22 percent higher than the R1.8bn given in the previous year’s budget.
The estimates document attributes the first rise in costs – from R1.8bn to R2.2bn – to “cost adjustments made due to the delays in finalising the design and changes in the scope of the work”.
The latest apparent rise announced by Mokonyane, to R2.5 billion, means costs have gone up a further R300 million over the past five months.
The department of water affairs was not immediately available to comment on the increase.
One of the government’s so-called mega infrastructure projects, the Clanwilliam Dam, is located in the middle reaches of the Olifants River in the Western Cape.
Mokonyane said on Tuesday that the raising of the wall “will also include dam safety measures to ensure the stability of the embankment”.
The safety of the existing wall has been a matter of concern for some years, due to what the estimates document in February described as “distortion” in the structure.
It is understood the wall will be raised by 13 metres, providing an additional 70 million cubic metres of water a year to downstream farmers.
Work started last year on re-aligning the adjacent N7 national road, parts of which will be flooded by the rise in the reservoir.
Construction is expected to create about 650 temporary jobs in the local economy.
A 1:100 scale model of the completed project was on display at Parliament on Tuesday.