DWS to continue intervention and appoint contractors on an emergency basis to unblock the sewer system in the Vaal
The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) will appoint eighteen (18) contractors on an emergency basis to accelerate the protracted seepage of raw sewer into the Vaal River as well as local households in the Vaal area, particularly in the Emfuleni Local Municipality.
The contractors will be sourced from the DWS and the National Treasury Central Databases and will be meant to unlock the sewer system and allow for better flows. Some of the contractors that will be appointed for the emergency work include those that initially conducted work on the system before under the Ekurhuleni Water Care Works' (ERWAT) contract with the Department before expiry.
However, the appointment of the contractors on an emergency basis does not nullify but will run concurrently with the contracts for tenders that were advertised last year. It is important to understand that this is an intervention necessitated by the lack of operations and maintenance of wastewater infrastructure at the local government level, resulting in infrastructure failure.
The National Treasury is still finalising the main contractors in line with the Cabinet resolution following the South African Human Rights Commission's findings and recommendations on the spillages.
In this regard, the Department is working tirelessly to ensure that the issues pertaining to the eradication of sewer spillages within communities and into the Vaal River are addressed through the implementation of several initiatives to tackle the challenge.
The Department wishes to strongly reaffirm its commitment to continue to work resolutely with stakeholders to speed up the resolution of the long-standing sewer pollution of the Vaal River which will include the refurbishing of wastewater treatment plants, thus enhancing capacity of the plants and associated pump stations. Married to the unblocking of the pipelines will be either refurbishment or even replacement of malfunctioning or ageing infrastructure.