Villagers blamed for dam delay

Delays in the long-awaited official opening of the Xonxa Dam have been attributed to villagers refusing to allow connection pipes to run past their villages when they, too, have no water.

Chris Hani District Municipality (CHDM) mayor Wongama Gela indicated it was only fair that the villages the pipes run through to service Komani and surroundings towns, would also get water.

“The project was built and designed for the water to come from the dam to service Komani and other towns, but the connection pipe runs through a number of villages .We had to attend to the social problem because the villagers would not allow pipes to run via their villages without water being provided for them as well. We have, however, ensured that in villages the pipes run through, water must be made available. This problem has contributed immensely to the delay of the entire project, among other issues.”

Gela said in his previous portfolio as chairman of the municipal public accounts committee (MPAC) he had the responsibility to see what the hold-up was, and was told there was a problem with the connection.

“In this instance, the connection problems were caused by power outages and unfavourable weather conditions. What has caused panic among residents is that the dates officially released to open the dam came and went, but nothing happened. We publicised the dates because we did not foresee the issues we were later faced with.”

The mayor indicated he would make a clear announcement related to the matter at the State of the Municipality Address (SODA) which is set to take place towards the end of this month.

The Rep reported (Xonxa Dam 
project set for 2017 completion date) that the completion of the project had first been expected in the first quarter of 2017, but this was then moved to later in 2017.

When this did not happen that year, The Rep followed up and reported (Xonxa Dam
water supply pipeline to be finished in September that there had been some challenges and that delays had resulted in the expected completion date of September 2018.

Testing of the pipeline had been done in June 2018, but the dam is yet to be opened for the benefit of communities it is planned to serve.

The Rep reported (“Xonxa Dam hope” November 2, 2018) that it was 115% full, compared with Bonkolo Dam
water
  levels which were below the measurable level of 10%, and was filled with silt.

The multimillion-rand pipeline was originally commissioned in 2012 after it became clear that the Bonkolo  and Waterdown  Dams
c
ould no longer supply Komani and surrounding areas’ water needs.

Last year, CHDM had made about six promises to officially launch the opening of the dam, but repeatedly postponed it due several hiccups sited both by the service provider and the district municipality.

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