Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has asked two officials to submit a full report on the water challenges affecting the Lekwa municipality, in Standerton, Mpumalanga, as well as business in the area.
This follows after poultry producer Astral Foods on Monday announced that it had secured an emergency arrangement with the Lekwa municipality as in interim measure to stave off the water crisis affecting its Goldi poultry processing facility in the town.
The Minister has tasked Department of Water and Sanitation acting director general Squire Mahlangu and Department of Human Settlements director general Mbulelo Tshangana to meet with the municipality and businesses in the area to discuss possible short-, medium- and long-term solutions to addressing the problem.
Astral on Monday said the Lekwa municipal infrastructure had deteriorated to such as extent that water supply interruptions at the poultry processing plant had cost the company R85-million up until the end of June, as it had reduced production to 50% of the scheduled capacity.
The undersupply of water escalated to the point where the municipality was unable to supply 4 M ℓ/d of water to the facility, as required under a mutually agreed court order. The processing facility requires 5.5 M ℓ/d of water to process two-million broilers a week.
Sisulu said officials of the national departments must be problem solvers and bring stakeholders together to solve problems. “We have good policies; it is time for these policies to be implemented and our most experienced and most senior staff must lead.”
She would meet with MECs, mayors and other officials next week to identify priorities for the sector. She stated that it was clear that modernisation and development of water and sanitation infrastructure was a priority.Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online