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Dept to resume R1bn water project

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Departments decision may be a blessing to 126 workers that were laid off

THE DEPARTMENT of Water and Sanitation, together with Sedibeng Water, has announced that it will resume with phase two of the R1 billion Namakwa Bulk Water Supply Project, after the project was halted and 126 workers laid off.

The project, which commenced in 2010, was initiated as a result of interruptions in the water supply to the Springbok area, with continuous occurrences of pipeline failures leading to towns being without water for periods of up to four days.

The first phase of the project was completed in the 2015/16 financial year, while phase two started in July last year and focused on the replacement of the main delivery pipeline from the Henkries River Pump Station to the Eenriet Reservoir at Steinkopf.

The project was, however, suspended due to budget constraints experienced by the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) and, as a result, 126 temporary workers had to be laid off last month.

Following a meeting held on Friday last week, the DWS and Sedibeng Water have made funds available for the project to continue and the 126 temporary workers, who were laid off, will be reappointed from this Monday. The contracts of the construction workers, who were involved in the project, will also be renewed.

DWS spokesperson, Sputnik Ratau, said yesterday that in resolving the situation, the department and Sedibeng Water again affirmed its commitment to providing water services to the people in the Namaqua area and creating job opportunities to alleviate poverty in the region.