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Govt acts to stem SA’s R7bn water leaks

Aug 28 2015 21:15

Cape Town – The government on Friday launched a campaign to train 15 000 young people to fix leaking taps in their communities.

President Jacob Zuma launched the campaign, dubbed "War on Water leaks", at Zwide township in Port Elizabeth.

In July, DA leader Mmusi Maimane lamented the state of SA’s water infrastructure and warned that "water shedding" may be imminent.

The average water loss across SA's municipalities – which includes losses in pipes, inaccurate meter readings and unauthorised consumption – stands at 36%. In terms of water revenue, this amounts to a loss of more than R7bn per year.

The government has set aside R680m for the campaign and young people will be trained in three phases, according to SAnews.

Phase 1 will see 3 000 trained in the 2015/16 financial year, 5 000 in Phase 2 in 2016/17 and 7000 in phase 3 in the 2017/18 financial year.

“Those who will qualify are young people with Grade 12 or N3 with Maths and Science as fitters and turners, welders, instrument mechanics and electricians,” according to Zuma.

“They will do repairs, retrofitting and replacements,” he said.

Cuban engineers

Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane said 27 district municipalities in the country were in a dire state in terms of water capacity.

Meanwhile, the SA government faces strong criticism for its plan to spend R35m on Cuban engineers and water specialists over the next two years.

Spokesperson for the department, Sputnik Ratau, told Fin24 that the main purpose of the 2014 bilateral agreement was sharing expertise and enhancing skills capacity.

Rights group AfriForum has strongly criticised the deal, saying it was a slap in the face of South Africans.

In a media statement in February, AfriForum said that South Africa had its own experts who had years of experience in the water industry and who had effectively constructed and managed the water infrastructure in the country.

SA faces a myriad of problems with its aging water infrastructure. The department of Water and Sanitation indicated in 2014 that it needed approximately R600bn to address the problem.



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