Pretoria – The Department of Water and Sanitation is planning for a multi-purpose dam to be built by a women-owned company, Minister Nomvula Mokonyane, said in Cape Town, this morning.
Addressing media ahead of the Budget Vote speech in Parliament, Minister Mokonyane said as part of transforming the water sector industry her department would soon appoint a women-only company that will build the dam.
“We will soon be able to speak of a dam developed by women; one that will be designed, constructed, operated and maintained by women and women-owned companies and SMME’s. These are the outcomes of transformation we expect to see realised and happening here in our country and during this term of office.”
The department said the dam was a goal and that a site had not yet been decided on.
She said the department was dealing with the anomalies that had previously characterised the water sector.
Steps were being taken to eradicate single-purpose dams that were often used by a few and for recreational purposes only, to the exclusion of communities that lived around these dams.
The department would no longer develop dams in which ordinary citizens were without clean drinking water while the precious resource served industries that were owned by a few.
“Over the last 22 years, government has built over nine new dams as part of extending access to water for our people. Whereas previously our people were neither consulted nor accommodated as beneficiaries in such developments, presently we are incorporating community interests and participation as a key element in the delivery of water services infrastructure,” the Minister said.
The Minister said the department would use existing and future infrastructure projects to promote “the development of new industries within the sector and open opportunities for black industrialists to explore opportunities within this sector”.
“As the department, working with the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, we have participated and are actively involved in the Back-2-Basics programme being implemented in 27 priority district municipalities across the country.”
She said it was unfortunate that in the development of dams in the past, the transformation of the water sector industry was not prioritised.
This resulted in the monopoly of majority white-owned companies being the main beneficiaries.
Minister Mokonyane added that the department had delivered access to clean drinking water to 80% of the country’s population and decent sanitation to another 80%. However, ordinary communities remained the priority of the department for the supply of water and decent sanitation.