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SANDF awaits Treasury approval on budget to restore basic services in Vaal area

Army experts were deployed to the area in November last year to try and repair water treatment works as well as stem the flow of raw sewage into the Vaal River.

An SANDF technical team works to restore infrastructure at the polluted Vaal River system. Picture: @SANDFCorpEvents/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - As Finance Minister Tito Mboweni prepares to deliver his Budget speech on Wednesday, the SANDF is waiting to hear how much will be allocated to help restore basic services in the troubled Vaal district.

Army experts were deployed to the area in November last year to try and repair water treatment works as well as stem the flow of raw sewage into the Vaal River.

But the SANDF is facing financial constraints and requires about R1 billion to complete its work.

When the army was sent in to undertake massive work in the Vaal district three months ago, it had no funding from Treasury.

And now it’s in desperate need of a cash injection in order to complete the cleanup and restoration.

The SANDF's Andries Mahapa says they're waiting for National Treasury to approve their proposed budget.

"What we are waiting for now is the documentation, to ascertain the scope of the work, and determine which man will go where and the timeline."

Local group, Save the Vaal Environment, says that government needs to show its commitment to this crucial project.

"The SANDF are the only agency that's really come to our help."

The SANDF says its intervention has resulted in some progress since members were roped in to help.

But there are also other problems to deal with, in the form of infrastructure vandalism, which threatens to set their work back.

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