THE Mpumalanga government has budgeted R1,1 billion to address water and sanitation crisis in the province.
Delivering her Policy and Budget Speech in the provincial legislature on Thursday MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Refilwe Mtshweni said of that budget, R 26 million would be used to implement 104 water projects, while R 43 million would be used for sanitation projects.
In the past few months, the province has seen a number of violent service delivery where residents were complaining about the shortage of water and other related issues.
Mtshweni also appealed to the public to use water sparingly and to avoid illegal connection.
“Saving water is no longer an option, but a must, therefore, we appeal to everybody to save water.
These are difficult times. We are gravely concerned that illegal water connections exacerbated by the drought, poses a serious threat towards the achievements of the Mpumalanga Vision 2030 and the realization of Section 27 of the Constitution. These illegal connections cause massive damage to the water infrastructure and contribute to the increasing water losses in our municipalities,” said Mtshweni.
Mtshweni also said the department would upgrade the electricity bulk supply in order to increase the number of households with access to electricity in the following municipalities: Victor Khanye, Emakhazeni, Nkomazi, Lekwa and Thaba Chweu.
She said a total number of 1 827 households benefited from the electricity projects implemented by COGTA in the past financial year.
“In addition, Eskom and municipalities have connected 32 559 households in the province during the past financial year and 58 693 indigents are receiving free 50 Kilowatt hours (KWh) per household on a monthly basis.”
The MEC said due to non-payment for electricity consumption by communities, some big businesses, provincial and national departments, continue to plague the revenue collection efforts by the municipalities.
This will further improve the accuracy of tariffs charged and reduce the huge amount of unaccounted for electricity consumption, that usually result in an enormous electricity losses and unaffordable ESKOM bills.