COGTA returns R355m meant for Rand Water – DA Gauteng

Party says yet province's residents have to suffer severe water outages

Gauteng residents suffer severe water outages while COGTA returns R355 million meant for Rand Water to the Treasury

6 March 2024

The Gauteng Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) has surrendered R355 million in grant funding for Rand Water, despite Gauteng residents bearing the deeply problematic water shortages and outages.

This information was revealed in the Gauteng Provincial Consolidated Financial Statements for the 2022/2023 financial year.

The return of R355 million in grant funding has a far-reaching consequence for the province, especially since the funds were meant for Rand Water, a vital source of water in Gauteng.

It would have been more effective to use these funds to maintain, improve, or expand Rand Water's dilapidated water infrastructure at a time when the utility is struggling to keep up with the high water demand in Gauteng.

The failure to allocate R355 million to water infrastructure projects may lead to further delays in planned projects, potentially affecting water supply reliability and quality for residents in the province.

Inadequate water infrastructure could also hinder economic growth and development in Gauteng. Businesses and industries rely on a stable and sufficient water supply to operate effectively. Therefore, failure to invest in water infrastructure may deter investments and negatively impact economic growth and job creation.

Residents of Gauteng continue to face continued water supply challenges and breakdowns in services, such as interruptions, shortages, or quality issues, due to the lack of investment in water infrastructure. It is not surprising that residents are increasingly frustrated with the government's continuous failures and discontent with its handling of the situation.

Without the necessary funding, Rand Water is failing to maintain and upgrade its existing infrastructure, leading to increased strain on the system. This could result in more frequent breakdowns, leaks, and water losses, further exacerbating dire water supply issues in the province.

Moreover, the R355 million could have been used to initiate projects that would have created employment opportunities in the water sector and related industries. The failure to spend this money is yet another missed opportunity to reduce unemployment in the province.

The return of R355 million of grant funding raises questions about the Department of COGTA's ability to plan, budget, and implement projects effectively and indicates a lack of accountability, transparency, and governance within the department.

The DA demands that the Gauteng MEC for COGTA, Mzi Khumalo, take immediate action to rectify this issue, ensure effective grant funding utilisation, and prioritise water infrastructure investment to protect the province's future.

Issued by Nico de Jager, DA Gauteng Spokesperson for COGTA, 6 March 2024