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R3bn Giyani water project in limbo, 50 villages still without clean water

The project, whose costs ballooned to over R3 billion from just over R500 million, was launched by former President Jacob Zuma in 2014 with the aim of addressing water shortages in Giyani.

Picture: Owen Hartley/Unsplash

JOHANNESBURG - The R3 billion Giyani bulk water project which was meant to supply water to over 55 villages in Limpopo is now in limbo.

Eyewitness News revealed recently that the cash crisis in the Department of Water and Sanitation was holding back the completion of the project, with Limpopo-based construction company Khato Civils retrenching nearly 1,000 employees last month due to the department's failure to pay up.

The project, whose costs ballooned to over R3 billion from just over R500 million, was launched by former President Jacob Zuma in 2014 with the aim of addressing water shortages in Giyani.

It was meant to supply 55 villages with clean drinking water but only five communities have so far been connected.

After EWN reported on the halting of the Giyani water project, the department has now paid Khato Civils R64 million, saying it hopes the firm will complete its work.

But that won’t be the case because the company claims government still owes it over R40 million and its workers won’t be back on site to complete the project until government confirms the budget for the remaining work.

The department is still not clear when that project will be completed.

Spokesperson Sputnik Ratau says there is still no clarity when these villages will have access to the water they were promised four years ago.

“The work that is outstanding, whatever the amount may be, [it] needs a work plan that must be submitted.”

The sad reality is that four years and over R3 billion later, there are still 50 villages without access to clean drinking water.

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