The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) will appoint 18 contractors, on an emergency basis, to accelerate unblocking the pollution within the sewage system of the Vaal river and the local households in the Vaal area, particularly in the Emfuleni local municipality, to allow for better flows.
Some of the emergency work contractors, which will be sourced from the DWS and the National Treasury’s central databases, include those that initially conducted work on the system under the Ekurhuleni Water Care Works contract with the department before expiry.
“Married to the unblocking of the pipelines will be either refurbishment or even replacement of malfunctioning or ageing infrastructure,” the DWS said.
The DWS assured in a statement that the appointment of the contractors on an emergency basis did not nullify but will rather run concurrently with the contracts for tenders that were advertised last year.
The intervention is necessitated by the lack of operations and maintenance of wastewater infrastructure at the local government level, resulting in infrastructure failure.
Meanwhile, the National Treasury is still finalising the main contractors in line with the Cabinet resolution following the South African Human Rights Commission’s findings and recommendations on the spillages.
The DWS aims to ensure that the issues pertaining to the eradication of sewer spillages within communities and in the Vaal river are dealt with through the implementation of several initiatives to tackle the challenge.
“The department wishes to strongly reaffirm its commitment to continue to work resolutely with stakeholders to speed up the resolution of the long-standing sewer pollution of the Vaal River which will include the refurbishing of wastewater treatment plants, thus enhancing capacity of the plants and associated pump stations,” the DWS concluded.