Mkhwebane to investigate R3 billion Giyani water project

EWN recently revealed the project which was meant to supply 55 villages in Limpopo with water is now in limbo after the Department of Water and Sanitation failed to pay the construction company.

FILE: Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has told Eyewitness News her office has stepped in to investigate the R3 billion Giyani water project which appears to have been abandoned.

EWN recently revealed that the costly project - which was meant to supply 55 villages in the Limpopo community with water - is now in limbo after the cash-strapped Department of Water and Sanitation failed to pay the construction company contracted to do the job.

As a result, the firm Khato Civils had to resort to retrenching nearly 1,000 workers earlier in October.

The project was launched by former President Jacob Zuma in 2014 with the aim of addressing water shortages in Giyani.

Some residents of Giyani in Limpopo told EWN last week that they still don’t have access to clean drinking water even after government spent R3 billion on a project that was meant to solve the problem.

Mkhwebane says she’s now looking into this issue.

“We’ve got an own initiative investigation, especially the water project from Nandoni Dam to Nsami Dam, where the contractor was not paid.”

She says her office has also met the Minister of Water and Sanitation.

“We were also engaging the department to make sure that they pay so the connections can be fast-tracked, and water can be availed to those communities.”

But Khato Civils insists it will not go back on site until the department pays it the outstanding amount of R40 million and guarantees the budget for the remainder of the work.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)