David Mabuza

Deputy President David Mabuza.

Photo: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency(ANA)

David Mabuza: Stopping sewerage spill in Vaal River will cost R1.1-billion

The deputy president has urged the public to not be alarmed by the state of the Vaal River, “work is currently underway to expedite the problem.”

David Mabuza

Deputy President David Mabuza.

Photo: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency(ANA)

Deputy President, David Mabuza, has indicated that the Vaal River clean-up project will cost the taxpayer an estimated R6-billion.

David Mabuza NCOP reply: Key things he said

At the base of Thursday’s affairs with the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), was Mabuza’s report on the Integrated Action Plan and how its implementation will affect failing state-owned entities such as Eskom.

Responding to a question about the state of Eskom, David Mabuza indicated that there was a shared concern “that ESKOM’s fleet performance has deteriorated due to a lack of maintenance and refurbishment over the years.”

He conceded that coal shortages have only exacerbated the situation at the power utility, which recently announced that it was running low on reserves, teasing a return of load shedding.

“Regarding the current generation capacity of coal power stations: We advise that we are standing at the maximum available power of 36221MW. Work is underway to ensure that interruptions in the performance of coal power stations is minimised,” David Mabuza said.

What is the latest on the Vaal River clean-up project?

Another crucial part of the deputy president’s address was addressing the hazardous issue of sewage spillage flowing into the Vaal River Dam, South Africa’s biggest source of water supply.

Following his recent visit to Emfuleni Municipality in the Sedibeng District, to receive first-hand experience regarding the challenge of sewage spillage into the Vaal River, David Mabuza briefed the members, on government efforts to finding lasting solutions to address this matter, together with the affected stakeholders.

He noted that the intervention of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), in assisting with clean-up operating at the dam, have yielded notable positives.

“Work is currently underway to expedite the commissioning of additional capacity resulting in upgraded infrastructure. In fact the work done in Emfuleni is quite inspiring but there has been a delay & lack of maintenance of the existing infrastructure.

“We will be convening a meeting with the Premiers of the affected provinces to ensure that we agree on implementation on an integrated plan that will respond comprehensively to the sewer spillage that continues to pollute the Vaal river,” Mabuza explained.

Mabuza further revealed that a minimum of R1.1-billion is required to stop the pollution of the Vaal River. The intervention also requires:

  • 44 pump stations and three wastewater treatment plants;
  • replacing and repairing gravity raising mains;
  • leak detection; and
  • addressing deficiencies in the network system.

Mabuza applauded the work the Department of Human Settlements has done in funding the work of the SANDF.

Thus far, R240-million has been channelled from the department’s regional bulk infrastructure fund to support the army’s work at the Vaal River.

Also, Gauteng’s Cogta, as well as the Emfuleni Municipality, have also repurposed R110-million towards the province’s Department of Human Settlements to ensure the availability of funds for the project.

“What is urgent is to unblock the blockages that are there so that sewer can flow, we avoid further spillages into the river. I don’t think we should be deterred, let us be focused, in order to assist the situation there and deal with the problem,” he said.