Posted By Riante Naidoo on July 24, 2017 in Construction, News, Water, Water management, Water supply
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) plans to take legal action against the Department of Water and Sanitation over delays in Phase II of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project.
Outa’s basis for the case is over serious maladministration arising from the project.
The case, which the organisation is currently building, plans to hold the department’s minister Nomvula Mokonyane accountable for the delays to the project. “We’ve served the minister with a legal letter of demand,” Outa said.
They also claimed that Mokonyane jeopardised Gauteng’s water security by delaying the development of the project for more than two years, and said she cost local taxpayers about R2 billion more.
“This project was supposed to provide water to Gauteng next year, yet it hasn’t started and now it’s estimated that the project will not supply any water before 2025,” Julius Kleynhans, Outa’s portfolio director for water, said.
“The minister has failed in her duty to proactively ensure water supply to the region and she continues to fail,” he added. “We the citizens must hold the minister accountable.”
As far as progress of the project goes, Phase II mainly comprises the construction of the Polihali Dam. Its primary layout preparation (design) began this month and the project is estimated to cost R445 million.
Outa made several demands going forward. One was to reinstate the board of the Lesotho Highland Development Authority (LHDA) to replace its current interim board, as well as the reinstatement of the technical sub-committee.
Other demands included the enforcement of the LHDA anti-corruption policy and payment of all fines arising from the Lesotho Highlands Water Project Phase I.
Other concerns raised by the organisation included Mokonyane’s history when it came to her procurement and management practices.
Kleynhans said the organisation “embraces transformation and agrees that previously disadvantaged people need to benefit from new developments and Gauteng needs sufficient water to ensure new and sustainable opportunities to assist in transformation,” however added that delays in the water supply “for personal gain has detrimental effects on equality”.
The department’s spokesperson Sputnik Ratau confirmed to News24 that Outa’s letter was received by the department. “The department will attend to the matters contained therein within the prescripts of the law,” he said.