Water and sanitation
Access to basic services like water and sanitation remains a challenge in some of our communities, especially in the rural parts of the country. There is also an urgent need to address collapsing and dysfunctional infrastructure.
Government recognises these challenges and has been taking steps to improve the planning, development and maintenance of water and sanitation systems.
A National Water Resources Infrastructure Agency
In his SONA in February 2021, President Cyril Ramaphosa pledged to speed up the creation of a National Water Resources Infrastructure Agency.
Financial modelling for this has now been completed and the process is in the drafting stages.
The National Water Resources Infrastructure Agency will:
Ensure the development and operation of systems that are crucial to South Africa’s water security
Operate existing dams, canals and pipelines that are currently run by the Department of Water and Sanitation
Build new water infrastructure
Ensure that large water users like municipalities continue to fund the construction and operation of major water systems
11 water and sanitation infrastructure projects prioritised
R106 billion total value
Of these, 4 projects worth R68 billion set to begin in the next two years
Water licence applications
Water licences ensure that this increasingly scarce resource is used fairly and sustainably. (Find out more about water licences here.)
Improved systems have been put in place to speed up the licensing process and ensure that applications are finalised within a revised time frame of 90 days – down from 300 days previously.
The aim is for this 90-day target to be implemented by March 2022 to improve the ease of doing business.
In the media
How to get your water licence approved in 90 days
The department of water and sanitation (DWS) implemented a plan to reduce the turnaround of such applications from 300 days, to just 90. This plan has been in action since 1 April, and all those license applications submitted before then will still undergo the 300-day process.
Water quality monitoring
The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) has re-launched the Blue and Green Drop Certification Programmes, which monitor and manage the quality of drinking and waste water around the country.
This is an important step to ensure that municipalities maintain and improve the state of wastewater treatment and water infrastructure so that safe water is delivered to communities.
Progress on Water Quality
An Independent National Water Regulator has been proposed to ensure our water resources are properly managed and that there is no political interference in how water is regulated.
The Raw Water Pricing Strategy has been finalised and is ready for publication.
South Africa’s water boards are to be reviewed to enhance service delivery of water and sanitation around the country.
Roads and bridges
Welisizwe Rural Bridges Programme
For millions of South Africans in rural areas, roads and bridges provide access to markets, employment opportunities and social services.
We are therefore upscaling the Welisizwe Rural Bridges Programme to deliver 95 bridges a year from the current 14. Our South African National Defence Force (SANDF) is the implementing agent of the programme and has demonstrated the expertise of SANDF engineers in bridge construction.
Rural roads programme
The rural roads programme will use labour-intensive methods to construct or upgrade 685 kilometres of rural road over the next three years. This social enterprise programme includes access roads in Limpopo and Eastern Cape, gravel to surface upgrades in Free State and North West, and capacity and connectivity improvements in the Western Cape.