End to Makhanda’s water woes delayed yet again

Amatola Water says it expects the water interruptions in Makhanda to end by 30 August

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The James Kleynhans Water Treatment Works project is expected to increase pumping capacity which will provide enough water to Makhanda residents, in a bid to end the current water supply interruptions. Photo: Loyiso Dyongman

  • Amatola Water says it expects the water interruptions in Makhanda to end by 30 August.
  • Amatola Water was appointed as the implementing agent for the James Kleynhans Water Treatment Works project.
  • The project is expected to increase pumping capacity which will provide enough water to the town in a bid to end the current water interruptions. The project is expected to be completed by December 2023.

Makhanda residents will have to wait a bit longer to see an end to water supply interruptions. Despite earlier assertions that the city’s water woes would largely be resolved by the end of June, the Amatola Water Board now says it expects the water interruptions to end by 30 August.

“The extent of water cuts has been lessened, which affirms the correctness of the approaches adopted. The organisation of the National Arts Festival was not affected by any water challenges, meaning a prudent revenue generation vehicle and economic injector was not derailed,” said Amatola Water spokesperson, Nosisa Sogayise in a statement.

Amatola Water was appointed as the implementing agent for the James Kleynhans Water Treatment Works project in July 2015 in an agreement that included the Department of Water and Sanitation and the Makana Local Municipality. GroundUp has previously reported on the delays to the project.

The pumping capacity at the James Kleynhans Water Treatment Works has to be doubled from 10 megalitres per day to 20 megalitres. The municipality has said that this would be enough to supply the town, which uses about 18 megalitres per day, according to the Makana Local Municipality’s water crisis page. In March we reported that the deadline for the project to be completed is December 2023.

“The original target of ensuring an additional 10 megalitres from James Kleynhans Water Treatment Works needed to be revised after interrogation of over optimistic commitments made by the appointed service providers, compounded by poor management of the transition from the previous contractor and intermittent severe weather conditions.”

Makana municipal manager, Phumelelo Kate, said the new contractor at James Kleynhans is Water and Wastewater Technology SA. The previous contractor, Mamlambo Construction Company, was liquidated in June 2022, causing further delays to the project.

Sogayise said that the revised date is 30 August 2023 for the additional water.

“On a week-to-week basis an assessment will be made, including if an end to water cuts is experienced before the final set target. Penalties will be imposed on the service providers if this state of affairs arises. Additional workforce has also been added at the site by the contractor to expedite the work performance.”

Sogayise noted that the arrival of a new pump was a positive development for the project. “The pump was originally meant for a later phase of the augmentation project and was brought forward to assist at the high lift pump station. This encouraged the project team as an additional pump gives hope to water supply augmentation from the water treatment works,” said Sogayise.

She said Amatola Water remains adamant that Makhanda will get enough water from this multi-million rand project before the end of the year.

On 20 July, municipal spokesperson Anele Mjekula said, “Most of the reservoirs are not healthy this morning. This is due to an electrical problem that occurred within the grid of both the Howienspoort Pump Station and the Waainek Water Treatment Works. [Water tankers] will continue in constrained areas.”

In the midst of Makana’s water battles, the news of Gubevu Maduna’s resignation has come as a shock. Maduna was the municipality’s Water and Sanitation manager. Mjekula said Maduna, who served for four years, is currently serving his last month which ends on the last day of July.

“He has been with us for quite a long time and has institutional memory. His departure is a serious setback for the institution because he was a specialist in his field. The new person who will take over will have to start from scratch, which isn’t ideal,” said Mjekula.

He said the municipality is working closely with the Sarah Baartman District Municipality (SBDM), Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) as well as the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (MISA) to ensure that services are not adversely affected during this period.

DA Makana Caucus leader, Luvuyo Sizani, said any resignation of key personnel will definitely have a negative impact on the running of the affected department. “It’s a concern to see people leaving but unfortunately, they have their own reasons. I’m hoping that the key positions that are vacant will be filled with some urgency. Selection panels have a responsibility of ensuring that competent, experienced and qualified applicants are appointed for any position especially now,” said Sizani.

TOPICS:  Water

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