An amount of R143 million has been allocated by the Department of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation for drought relief in Moutse, near Groblersdal, in Limpopo.
The funds will be administered by Lepelle Northern Water, as the implementing agent, to address the long-standing challenges of water within the Sekhukhune District Municipality.
The funds will be used to drill new boreholes and refurbish existing ones in the area, among other interventions.
Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu visited the area on Friday, where five water tankers and 20 water tanks were donated. The water tankers will be administered by the Sekhukhune District Municipality.
Sisulu was accompanied by Limpopo Premier Stanley Mathabatha; Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs MEC Basikopo Makamu; Sekhukhune District Municipality Mayor Stanley Ramaila, and representatives from Lepelle Northern Water Board.
During her visit, the Minister interacted with the Moutse community and assured them that there will be additional water tanks to ensure that all residents have water, prioritising the elderly, schools, the police station, and Philadelphia Hospital.
She emphasised that this will be an interim measure, while the municipality works with the Lepelle Northern Water board, the province and the provincial Water and Sanitation Department's office to initiate sustainable water reticulation projects in the area.
Sisulu and Mathabatha assured the community and stakeholders that the process to address water challenges in the area has started.
"I first have to apologise to the community on behalf of government for the challenges that you have had for a long time. I would like to assure you that we have heard your cries...
"I have tasked the municipality and Lepelle Northern Water to work together to ensure that the community of Sekhukhune has access to water," Sisulu said.
While the national department is intervening because of the dire situation, the Minister said local government remains responsible for ensuring optimally operational reticulation infrastructure to service communities.