Speech by Minister in The Presidency for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, Collins Chabane at the launch of Tshirunzini Water Project, Tshirunzini, Limpopo
02 December 2011
Mayor of Mutale Municipality
Dr. Vincent Maphai Ė SAB Executive Director of Corporate Affairs and Transformation, Corporate Affairs
All Chiefs present
Members of the Tribal Council
Senior managers of SAB Miller
Ward Councillor in the area
It gives me great pleasure to be part of this august event to launch the Tshirunzini Water Project. I am particularly thankful to the South African Breweries Limited for being such a good citizen, but more humbled by Chief Tshikundamalema willingness to open up his community to development. The chief did not seat and wait for government to deliver but he took initiative for his community and for that we salute you.
Poverty and underdevelopment remains the most critical threat facing our nation and if not addressed, we run the risk of losing our nation. Many of our rural areas are confronted with this situation on daily basis and government continues to fight it with several interventions but it cannot do it alone. A public private partnership is required to tackle this problem. There are many challenges associated with poverty but key among a nationís health is provision of clean running water. The provision of water prevents water borne diseases like cholera from threatening the health of the nation.
Government has identified the fight against crime, education, rural development, creation of jobs and most importantly the health of our nation as priorities. We however, cannot have a healthy nation if our people do not have access to clean water.
Water is a necessity and not a privilege, every community and individuals must have access to safe and clean water for sanitation, basic use in the household, to drink but most importantly for their health and the community of Tshirunzini is no exception.
While I was an MEC in this province, I had an opportunity to visit this small and humble village. I was touched by the humbleness of this community and its cries for assistance being a poverty striken community. Knowing the pressures of government to deliver on basic services with limited budget, I approached the South African Breweries Limited for help. I approached them knowing their commitment to water delivery as a good corporate citizen and they did not disappoint.
Many of our communities particularly in rural areas have no access to water. As a country we have an obligation to meet our United Nations Millennium Development Goals by making sure that all our people have access to clean and running water by 2014, and this requires efforts of all us in the country. Currently, the world is experiencing an economic meltdown which is also affecting our country thereby reducing our revenue and hampering our efforts to deliver against the targets.
It is also humbling that the SAB came to the rescue of this community even at the time of these economic conditions. SAB Limited has demonstrated that the lives and wellbeing of our people are more important and for that we commend your efforts.
South Africa is currently hosting an international Conference of Parties commonly known as Cop 17 in Durban. As the world ponders around what the world can do to mitigate climate change, water provision has also taken centre stage and remains under threat from our emissions. The South African government regards climate change as one of the greatest threats to sustainable development. If unmitigated, Government believes that climate change has the potential to undo or undermine many of the positive advances made in meeting South Africaís own development goals and the Millennium Development Goals.
It is time that all of us in our communities must make an effort to mitigate climate change which is basically what we commonly know it as environmental management. We need to go back to our indigenous ways of managing our environment which seems to be disappearing in our communities. For example; traditionally we always knew that we do not cut the whole tree down but we only cut the branch we use so that we can allow it to grown again. This is because our forefathers knew how important trees are to our lives and our environment.
Programme Director, the Department of Water Affairs continues to focus on meeting the countryís water targets; managing South Africaís scarce water resources for long-term sustainability; improving the regulatory and institutional environment; spearheading transformation in the water sector; and supporting the development of water-resources infrastructure. This is to ensure that projects like the one we are launching today encourage the private sector and civil society to participate in our efforts to provide clean running water to our people.
While striving to ensure that all South Africans gain access to clean water and safe sanitation, the water sector also promotes effective and efficient water-resource management to ensure sustainable economic and social development.
Our countryís water resources are, in global terms, scarce and extremely limited. The total flow of all the rivers in the country combined amounts to about 49 200 million cubic metres (m3) per year. This is less than half of that of the Zambezi River, the closest large river to South Africa. Groundwater plays a pivotal role, especially in rural water supplies.
Limpopo Province is not blessed with abundant water resources. Central to this challenge is whether water allocated to users has been used effectively and efficiently.
This water provision belongs to you, the people of Tshirunzini, you will have to make sure you use it sparingly. Protect it and where possible recycle it for repeat multiple use in your households. Where there is water leakage you have a responsibility to bring this problem to the attention of the authorities to save water. If you donít do so, one day you will wake up without your ever important resource.
As a community which is reliant on subsistence farming, it is important to ensure that your water is used effectively for the survival of this community and for your future generations.
I am informed that Water provision is one of SAB Limitedís main focus areas from a Corporate Social Investment perspective. This was demonstrated when SAB identified the concern around water supply, security and quality in selected locations in the region, such as Tshirunzini.
In this village of 47 households with a 95% unemployment rate, the community and its livestock rely on one Borehole equipped with a diesel driven mono pump and two 10 000 Litre storage tanks. There is no municipal supply of water and it is for this community to raise money for diesel to pump water into two 1000 litre tanks, which can only be periodically available to the maximum of 2 days in a week.
With the intervention of SAB Limited, a sustainable water provision project to supply clean running water using solar energy and increased water storage was implemented. This was made possible through the thought leadership of Chief Tshikundamalema.
Today we are proud to formally handover to you an additional borehole and a bigger storage tank with an alternative sustainable energy sources through solar energy.
In addition we are handing over food hampers for 47 needy families, hippo rollers and school uniforms to needy children.
We are humbled by this gesture and we commend SAB Limited for not folding its arms and going an extra mile when poverty and sufferings of this community was confronting them.
I hope that this type of intervention will not only end in Tshirunzini but in other parts of the province and the country.
I thank you