The Chris Hani District Municipality (CHDM) has received an additional R67m from the national treasury for the purposes of the implementation of the district economic recovery plan and the Covid-19 interventions.
CHDM mayor Wongama Gela indicated during a press briefing on Monday, that the district joint operations committee had resolved, about a month ago, to develop an economic recovery plan document that would address the way the municipality would contribute towards the recuperation of economic activities in the area.
“The document would also address challenges confronted during the lockdown and what should be done to mitigate them in terms of alert level one. We held a special council meeting last week so we could appropriate the additional funds and adopt our first adjustment budget as required by law.”
The mayor said what was up for consideration by council in the budget adjustment related to a number of innovative projects that were proposed and aligned to the Covid-19 interventions, and those that would contribute toward the economic recovery of the district.
“One of the interventions included intensive water provision in areas where the resource is scarce, as lack thereof has a negative impact in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. The drought situation in the district is still very concerning as dam levels continue to decline. We have experienced challenges in the drawing of underground water from boreholes which have shown a significant yield.”
He said one of the areas hardest-hit by drought in the district were Engcobo municipality where the Xuka and Ngcotyana streams had significantly declined, Thompson Dam in Sakhisizwe municipality where water levels were at a declining 35%, and Waterdown Down in Enoch Mgijima municipality at a stubborn 27.1%, while Xonxa was comfortably at 94%.
“Areas like Middelburg that rely on underground water are severely affected. However, we have already started rationing water in affected areas. As part of our measures to accelerate water provision, we have engaged private business owners of water carting trucks to augment the work we are doing,” said Gela.