Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu recently assured the residents of Big Five Hlabisa municipality in uMkhanyakude District that the government is working diligently to restore their water supply. The minister made this statement during community engagements held on May 11, 2023, at Mkhaliphi Stadium in eNhlwathi Village and Iholo la Makhosi in Hlabisa.
Improving Water Schemes in the Area
Minister Mchunu informed the communities of eDengeni, Mkhaliphi, Nhlwathi, and Matshamhlophe in Hlabisa that interlinked potable water schemes would connect to the trans-boundary Mandlakazi Regional Bulk Water Scheme upon completion. In the meantime, existing pipes and valves in Nhlwathi, Mkhaliphi, and Matshamhlophe are being fixed and upgraded, with some communities already receiving water.
Joined by Deputy Ministers David Mahlobo and Judith Tshabalala, as well as local traditional leaders and officials, Minister Mchunu emphasized the collective commitment of stakeholders in restoring water supply. He acknowledged the challenges faced by residents, urging them to remain patient while work continues on various water schemes.
In response to the water supply challenges in the district, the Department of Water and Sanitation placed the District Municipality under Section 63 of the Water Services Act in February 2022. This allowed the Minister to take over management, operations, and maintenance of water infrastructure to restore services. Consequently, Mhlathuze Water was appointed as an Implementing Agent, working on multiple work packages and schemes to alleviate water challenges in the district.
One of the key projects is the Hlabisa Water Supply Scheme, which includes upgrades to the Mandlakazi Water Treatment Works. This facility is currently being optimized, with the aim of doubling its capacity from 30 to 60 megaliters per day. The municipality also receives water from the Hluhluwe Water Supply Scheme, which sources water from the Hluhluwe River.
Importance of Collaboration and Communication
During the community engagement, Minister Mchunu reiterated the importance of providing basic services to all citizens, regardless of their political affiliation. He emphasized that the cooperation of all stakeholders, including local leaders, the District Municipality, Mhlathuze Water, and the residents themselves, is crucial for ensuring a reliable potable water supply and promoting economic growth in the area.
Furthermore, the Minister called for ongoing communication and collaboration between the government, local authorities, and communities to ensure transparency and accountability in the process of restoring water supply. He also encouraged community members to actively participate in water conservation efforts, as well as reporting any issues or concerns regarding water supply and infrastructure.
In conclusion, while the situation in Big Five Hlabisa municipality is challenging, the commitment from the government and various stakeholders to restore water supply and address infrastructure issues is evident. With continued collaboration, transparency, and hard work, it is possible to achieve a sustainable and reliable water supply for the communities in the uMkhanyakude District.