Categories: GovernmentNews

Zululand’s Lifeline: Mandlakazi Water Scheme Accelerates for Communities

  • Accelerated Completion: The Ministry of Water and Sanitation is fast-tracking the Mandlakazi Regional Bulk Water Scheme to ensure swift relief for communities in Zululand facing water scarcity.
  • Strategic Intervention: Minister Senzo Mchunu announces the project's transfer to a Ministerial Scheme and appoints uMngeni-uThukela Water as the implementing agent to expedite progress.
  • Milestones Achieved: Critical reservoirs tested and commissioned, bringing hope for sustainable water provision to villages in both eastern and western Hlabisa, underscoring the government's commitment to addressing water challenges in South Africa.
Published by
Miriam Matoma

In a significant move to address the critical water supply challenges faced by communities in Zululand, the Ministry of Water and Sanitation has intensified efforts to expedite the completion of the Mandlakazi Regional Bulk Water Scheme. This initiative, situated between Kwa-Nongoma and Mkhuze towns in Zululand District Municipality, along with Hlabisa under uMkhanyakude District Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal, aims to bring essential relief to the region.

Providing a recent update on the project’s progress, the department disclosed that on December 14, 2023, Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu convened a pivotal meeting involving key stakeholders, including uMngeni-uThukela Water, Zululand, and uMkhanyakude District Municipalities. The primary objective of this gathering was to assess the current status of the project and identify strategies to expedite its completion.

During the meeting, comprehensive presentations were delivered by representatives from both district municipalities, highlighting discernible gaps and a sluggish pace in project advancement. Subsequently, Minister Mchunu announced the decision to transfer the scheme under the department’s jurisdiction, transforming it into a Ministerial Scheme. This strategic intervention was prompted by the project’s prolonged delays and its profound socio-economic significance, spanning across two vital districts.

Further consolidating efforts to propel the project forward, Mchunu announced, during a subsequent meeting on January 3, 2024, the appointment of uMngeni-uThukela Water as the implementing agent. This appointment entrusts them with specific responsibilities crucial for the project’s execution.

While awaiting the completion of the Mandlakazi Scheme, Wisane Mavasa, the departmental spokesperson, disclosed that emergency funding has been allocated to facilitate the construction of storage reservoirs and the connection of water supply to the Hlabisa area. As of February 20, 2024, significant milestones have been achieved, with the successful testing and commissioning of Reservoir 12 Mthwadlana and Reservoir 22 Miyaneni. These reservoirs are poised to serve as critical nodes in the water distribution network.

Reservoir 12 Mthwadlana plays a pivotal role in supplying water to numerous villages situated to the east of Hlabisa, including Matshamhlophe, Majukujukwini, Ophaphasi, Nhlwathi, Nqamu, Ngodini, Mcwabakazi, Makhowe, and others. On the other hand, Reservoir 22 Miyaneni serves as a command reservoir, catering to the water needs of settlements located to the west of Hlabisa, such as Mpembeni, Hlabisa Town, Mhlambanyathi, Mgangatho, Mansiya, among others.

Wisane Mavasa reiterated the Ministry’s unwavering commitment to oversee and support the project diligently. Technical teams are currently engaged in rigorous pressure testing and assessing the functionality of pipelines, ensuring optimal performance now that the reservoirs are operating at full capacity.

It is imperative for the Ministry and the department to sustain their proactive involvement, ensuring adherence to project timelines and guaranteeing that the identified communities receive consistent access to potable water upon the project’s completion.

This concerted endeavor not only signifies a crucial step towards mitigating water scarcity but also underscores the government’s unwavering dedication to enhancing the quality of life for South African citizens, particularly those in underserved regions like Zululand. The accelerated completion of the Mandlakazi Regional Bulk Water Scheme stands as a beacon of hope, heralding a future marked by improved water security and socio-economic prosperity for these communities.

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Miriam Matoma

Miriam is a freelance writer, she covers economics and government news for Rateweb. You can contact her on: Email: miriam@rateweb.co.za Twitter: @MatomaMiriam