Ongeorganiseerd? Ek is 'n bietjie georganiseerd. [Disorganised? I am somewhat organised.]
This year our message is that, during this third decade of our democratic governance, all South Africans must be assured that we are making these efforts in relation to water conservation, as I stated. The Deputy Minister will deal with that. We also spare no efforts in realising the well- resolved decision by our movement, the ANC, to ensure that there is a better life for all. For the past two decades we have seen a remarkable response in the provision of water, in responding to the aspirations of our people. The strides we have made are huge and impactful, but they have not adequately addressed the issues of equity and redistribution. As we approach the third decade of democratic governance, the opportunity is now on our doorstep to do so, with a clear resolution that this decade is going to be the decade of equity and redistribution.
While we are extremely proud of our track record of delivering services and are taking into cognisance all the challenges that lie ahead of us, we are also saying that we need to work hard. We will therefore continue to deal with these challenges that face us along the entire water chain, that is, from the source to the tap and back to the source. One of the major issues which will be given particular attention this year is the fact that equity and redistribution must be addressed in terms of both access to water for human consumption and productive needs.
This equity and redistribution paradigm must drive every policy, planning and implementation decision we make within the whole value chain. Let me just for a moment reflect on the progress we have made. In 1994 we started way below 60%, and we are now at 59% of access provision to clean drinking water for people; 19 years later and not 40 years later. We are currently standing at a national average of 95,2%, coming from about 94,7% recently. This is a truly remarkable increase. We are proud of this particular achievement and the impact it has had for many people in this country. [Applause.]
We have made progress, and we commit ourselves to building towards the achievement, as stated in our mission, of a better life for all. Even as we celebrate these outstanding achievements, we are not naive and oblivious to the many challenges, as I have said. We know that our people continue to suffer from the grim reality of water scarcity, especially in far-flung areas of our country. There is also the scourge of water shortages recently experienced in various provinces like North West and Mpumalanga and many others. As government we are saying that we will redouble our efforts to attend to those challenges.
One major challenge which requires attention, as confirmed by the recent Census 2011 results, is the issue of the functionality of our municipal infrastructure. Census 2011 tells us that 86% of our households have functional water supplies. This means that about 9% to 10% of existing services are dysfunctional and a further 24% experience serious challenges. This requires urgent attention and intervention. We assure you that we will roll up our sleeves and work hard day and night, together with our stakeholders, to deal with these challenges.
The backlog now stands at 4,8% for us to reach universal access to water. However, we will not be complacent and not deal with those issues which are challenges in the system. The reality is that there are still some people in mainly the rural areas in KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and Eastern Cape without access to clean water. We have a huge responsibility to attend to this challenge. It is my absolute pleasure to announce that from July this year we will begin with a new programme, called the Interim Water Supply Programme, in order to address these backlogs. In other words, we are dealing with this problem from the bottom up to get to this 4,8%. We will do that by attending to the 23 district municipalities prioritised by government.
This programme will be funded through the municipal water infrastructure grant, MWIG, which includes the development and upgrading of local water sources - starting in areas with no water supply - water loss management and War on Leaks, which the Deputy Minister will talk about. An amount of R4,334 billion has been set aside by treasury for this work. Our water boards will play a pivotal role in implementing this programme.
This programme is also going to require strong partnerships among ourselves as government, the private sector and nongovernmental organisations. A great deal of work is already under way with partners such as the Strategic Water Partners Network SA, which hosted a successful dialogue during the World Economic Forum here in Cape Town recently. This work had started a few years ago, however. We are proud to work with these partners of ours and we already see some successes in some of the work we are doing together.
We are also mindful of the issues around water conservation and demand, which the Deputy Minister will talk about. While there are a number of programmes across municipalities and sectors to deal with the issue of water conservation, reports such as the one released by the Water Research Commission on the state of our nonrevenue water are a cause for concern. According to this report, we are losing about 36% of our clean water in the distribution system - clean water. We really need to do something about it. However, we do not think that this problem is insurmountable; we have to deal with it in order to bring back the 36% of water leaking from our system.
These problems are also causes of behavioural changes or led to behavioural patterns that have a negative impact on the use of water. Again, in collaboration with the Strategic Water Partners Network SA we are developing a strategy for an incentive-based system of water-use efficiency currently referred to as the No Drop programme and the War on Leaks project. The Deputy Minister will talk about this.
As we approach the end of the second decade of freedom and entering the third decade, equity and redistribution must be high on our agenda. In the third decade equity and redistribution should be used to consolidate our gains and make sure that the country moves forward with even more vigour to ensure universal coverage. In our speech last year we identified a turnaround process. We would like to report to you this morning that we are doing this through business process re-engineering, which is yielding good results.
We have certainly improved our internal controls and are more geared up now as a department to deliver the clean audit that we promised for 2014. We are better configured now both in terms of organisational systems and managerial competence to deliver quality services in the water sector. Our vacancy rate has also stabilised and remains at an acceptable 10% in terms of the Department of Public Service and Administration, DPSA, threshold. Our financial controls have been significantly improved, compliance has improved and we have established a new governance structure, the Financial Misconduct Unit.
The expenditure pattern has also improved significantly in the past financial year. Remember that last year we received additional funds. As at the end of the previous financial year expenditure was standing at 90%. In this financial year we are at 96%, even with an increased budget.
Our capacity and ability to deliver quality services will be dependent on our skills. Currently the learning academy has a contingent of 536 active bursary holders and 418 of them have been absorbed into the department's training programme. One hundred and eighteen candidates have enrolled at various universities. Two hundred and seventy of them are in engineering, 241 are in sciences and 25 in surveying.
Thus far we have appointed 166 graduates in permanent and/or candidate OSD engineering and science posts within the department. Candidates graduating from our learning academy will also be supplementing the skills required at municipal level. Another proud achievement is that the learning academy was awarded the Best Training Programme in the public sector through Achievers Awards Magazine and BHP Billiton. We are proud of that achievement and we believe that it serves as an example in government. The awards honour these achievements, and the recognition we get comes through the programme that gives awards to companies and government departments who demonstrate their commitment to advance their employee skills base.
The head of our learning academy has also been selected to deliver the Best Management Practice paper at the 7th biennial International Water Association's Efficiency Conference. The paper is entitled "Scarce Skills Development for the Department of Water Affairs: The Learning Academy Model". This is a very good achievement for us.
We are making great progress in various ways in skills development, and one shining example is in the person of Xolani Mdletshe. Ukhona khona la. Awusukume bakubone. Ngiyabonga. [He is present here. Please stand up so that they can see you. Thank you.] [Applause.]
He is here in the gallery and we should say thank you to him. [Applause.] He is a product of this programme. Coming as he does from our own learning academy, Mdletshe has traversed a long and challenging road from university to being admitted professionally to the engineering field. We congratulate him and commit ourselves to producing more young engineers like our dear brother Mdletshe.
We will continue to work with all our partners in this sector to ensure that our skills base collaborates with professional institutions and thus produces and consolidates our work in the department. We are also very grateful for the contribution that the Water Research Commission, WRC, our research entity, is making to the skills base. The Water Research Commission has actually ensured that during the 2012-13 financial year 494 students were actively involved in funded research projects at Masters of Science and doctoral levels.
Our skills improvement plan goes beyond our engineering and scientific fields. We have another 84 interns in various administrative posts. Recently we have advertised another 100 posts for interns in human resources and finance. Of these, some of which are at the Water Research Commission, 42% - which amounts to 207 - are female. Let us celebrate this success. [Applause.] Of course, there are also people with disabilities amongst them.
Focusing on the department, I am pleased to report that within the management cadre of the department we now have 139 senior managers, of whom 40% are female and about 83% are black. We are well on our way to achieving the 50% target. As you see, we have 40% females in senior management. With regard to water security, let me reiterate, equity and redistribution are at its heart.
Let me deal with the current myth regarding the mixed messages that we sometimes receive from the public about our running out of water. Yes, there may be water shortages, but running out of water completely in South Africa is a myth. You must have heard that people are saying that South Africa will run out of water in 2013, some say in 2015, some say in 2025, 2030 and so on, depending on the source you are listening to.
Let me as the custodian of water resources in our country assure you that, as we enter the third decade of equity and redistribution, South Africa will not run out of water in the next 100 years. This is not to say that there are no challenges regarding the availability of water resources. We are confident, because of our planning and future programmes in water management and the development and management of infrastructure, that we are geared towards sustainability and a secure future in terms of the security of water supply.
I am saying this because our research institution, the Water Research Commission, continues to lead national initiatives aimed at securing water. They have been tasked to do some study that will serve as a blueprint for water resource management decisions that we will have to make. They will also give us a picture of what our water resources look like. That study will be completed in 2016. We are going to move forward and review our water policy, undertake a legislative review and a review of our strategy.
Let me start with the easiest strategy. We all know by now that the national water resource strategy is under review and is about to be completed. From tomorrow we will have final discussions in the Cabinet. Thanks to the members of this august House and the portfolio committee for having pioneered it and ensuring that our people participated in this piece of work. We are going to be looking at water allocation and other legacy implications by which certain categories of people and sectors are advantaged at the expense of the rest of the population.
Our water allocation reform programme is geared towards the achievement of this objective and will greatly be served by a tightened policy and legislative environment, as we envisage in this regard. This review of our water policy will realistically identify what has and what has not worked in the last two decades of our democracy and will therefore make suggestions going forward. We will start this work during the course of this year.
I am also delighted to report that, as I had indicated in the Budget Vote of 2012, we have reduced the number of catchment management agencies, CMA, at the institutional realignment level from 19 to 9. The consolidating process is under way; the Breede-Overberg CMA is to include the Gouritz catchments, and the Inkomati CMA, with the Usuthu catchments, is progressing well. I have already approved the Overberg and Gouritz CMAs for gazetting.
Last year I announced that we would investigate the restructuring of water boards to ensure that they are able to fund and develop the necessary bulk water infrastructure we need in this country. I have approved the proposals for this study to decrease the number of water boards from 12 to 9. We will come back to consult with this august House in that regard.
Regarding the building infrastructure to consolidate the gains of the last two decades, our budget has also significantly increased. Due to this increased budget - you know what the figures are; I am not going to go into those details - we are moving to support the programmes that have been announced by the President through the Strategic Integrated Project, SIP 18, last year.
In collaboration with the Departments of Human Settlements and of Co- operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, we are charged with the responsibility of integrating our work through infrastructure programmes. We are also leading the charge in relation to SIP 18 and also championing the work around it. SIP 18 deals with sanitation and water.
Regarding capital investment in new water, the entire value chain, including the refurbishment of existing infrastructure, is projected to require an estimated R670 billion over the next 10 years. This means that it is the equivalent of R67 billion per year. Currently we have only 45% of that money. We will be able to raise money off-budget and from other sources of government, but this is a value chain requirement fund, which also includes maintenance. We are going to work hard to realise the needs and overcome the challenges we face.
The new decade should see the accentuation of our seamless infrastructure model to manage our water. As we build this infrastructure, we will integrate and ensure that people who never had water are now catered for.
From a water infrastructure perspective, all our programmes - the Accelerated Community Infrastructure Programme, the Regional Bulk Infrastructure Programme, the Interim Water Supply Programme and all the large augmentation schemes - form the contingent development infrastructure that must drive this single initiative to achieve our development objectives based on the need for equity and redistribution. These infrastructure projects are constructed through a mix of departmental construction and the use of the Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority, TCTA. Members of the TCTA and the board are working very hard to help us in that regard.
I am now going to give an account of the large infrastructure that we implemented last year. Remember that we also spoke about the De Hoop Dam. The mayor is here in the gallery. We thank the mayor and the premier for the hard work they engaged in with us. [Applause.] The De Hoop Dam is currently at 16,85% full, while approximately 58,55 million cubic metres of water have been stored. The work to connect the water treatment plant at Steelpoort to the De Hoop Dam has already started and is expected to be complete by September next year. Certain areas like Jane Furse will be supplied with water from July this year. As we celebrate, in Steelpoort, which is part of the Sekuruwe region, people never used to have water but now they will begin to have water. The pipeline to Sekuruwe in the Waterberg area and Pruissen in the Capricorn area is also planned to start during this year.
These bulk water pipelines, which are the veins to get domestic water to mostly needy communities in that area, will be implemented as well. The government has spent R4,5 billion on the project, which will benefit more than 2 million people in the Sekhukhune, Capricorn and Waterberg areas. The Komati Water System Augmentation Project, KWSAP, has been completed. We have handed over the pipelines that have been supporting Eskom's Duvha and Matla power stations and Kusile power plant. There is also a 10% allocation of water to the communities in that area that has been completed, as we announced last year.
The Mooi-uMngeni Transfer Scheme will increase the yield of water through the Spring Grove Dam. It will input about 60 million cubic metres, thereby increasing the system yield to 394 million cubic metres per annum. The project will benefit the economic hub of KwaZulu-Natal comprising six municipalities: eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality; uMgungundlovu District Municipality; Msunduzi Local Municipality; Ugu District Municipality, Sisonke Local Municipality as well as iLembe District Municipality. We are at work supporting the developmental load of our country.
I am happy to announce that after this august House completed the gratification process, the Lesotho government has come back to say that they are ready. We received a letter yesterday which says that South Africa should continue with the work it is doing. [Applause.]
The pump station and 46 km pipeline from the Mokolo Dam to the Lephalale area, mainly for the use of Eskom and the new Medupi power station, is now under way. Just a few days ago the first 6,6% of the pipeline was connected to the existing pipeline, increasing water availability by 36%. Again, this is a delivery on which we said last year we would report back.
Regarding the Clanwilliam Dam, plans are in place. The construction of the deviation of the N7 road is under way. The actual construction of raising the dam wall will start in April 2014. With regard to the Mzimvubu Dam, a plan which some of us say was started in 1963 when I was in Sub A, is now being realised. By April next year this construction will start to consolidate our development of the Ntabelanga Dam on the Tsitsa River. We are planning three dams in this area in the first phase, and further work will be done in this regard.
The water boards have done a great deal of work by supporting infrastructure. They have further generated R10,5 billion from water sales during this financial year. They have invested a further R2,1 billion in infrastructure development and a further R3,3 billion for the next financial year. They have been able to reduce the debt to R2 billion, and we are now in the position where a debt of R1,3 billion is owed to our water boards. It is still much, but we are working very hard to reduce it, especially as it was over R2 billion.
We are greatly appreciative of the fact that our water boards are supporting our municipalities in the Blue Drop and Green Drop programmes. We also appreciate that their projects throughout the country amount to millions of rands. You will also find that in your documentation. Regarding the Dam Safety Rehabilitation Programme, we are rehabilitating 359 dams and major conveyance systems and we are making great strides in that regard.
The Regional Bulk Infrastructure Grant forms part of our major programme. We are currently focusing on the Ludeke Dam in the Alfred Nzo District Municipality and the Paterson Bulk Water Supply Scheme in Cacadu, just to name but a few in the Eastern Cape; the Ncorha Bulk Water Scheme in Chris Hani, and the Mncwasa Water Project in the O R Tambo District Municipality. In addition, other work will be done throughout the country and that process as well as this project will create 4 986 jobs in the 2012-13 financial year. This will be linked to the equitable distribution of water to people who do not have water.
As South Africa, we are engaging on an international level. We are working in various commissions, including in the SADC region and the whole world. We are also participating in Amcow Water as part of our work of ensuring that the water services are consolidated throughout the country and throughout the continent, working on a common development plan. We are also looking at the compliance with and monitoring of use authorisation. As you know, the Blue Scorpions are dealing with various cases, some of which went to court and were successfully prosecuted by the National Prosecuting Authority, NPA. We are currently supporting local municipalities and we accept and appreciate the work done by our portfolio committee to ensure that the necessary alignment and funding supporting the department are done in an integrated manner. We do need that kind of integration. With regard to the work we are doing on the Blue Drop and Green Drop programmes, results will be released. South Africa is one of only 12 countries out of the 186 countries in the world where you can drink tap water. [Applause.]
With regard to pollution and water quality, we are hard at work working with Cogta as well as the Municipal Information Systems Association, Misa - which is a new institution that has been set up - which are two of the leaders in that integration, to ensure that our municipalities are supported in the Green Drop and Blue Drop programmes. We are also working hard on the acid mine drainage. In the first phase we have been able to contain the problem of acid mine drainage, but now we are working on a long- term solution, on which we have been able to brief the members of the portfolio committee. We hope and are confident that the work we are doing will yield good results. We also see this as a source of additional water.
The work of the department is ongoing and I would like to conclude by saying that this third decade will focus on ensuring that those of our people who never used to have water will have water. Reallocation is done by law and through the law, as we will be reviewing the legislation as well as doing a policy review through the National Water Resource Strategy.
We will not have been able to do all this work that we are doing if it was not for the support of this portfolio committee. We would like to thank you, chair, and hon members for the good support we enjoy. This is not easy work to do, but with the professionalism of the various members under the leadership of our acting director-general who is here, Trevor Balzer, and the entire staff of the department and the water boards we are doing it. We also thank the family of Water Affairs and the sector in its entirety. Thank you very much. South Africa is certainly going into a higher trajectory as we move on together. Thank you very much. [Applause.]