The Department of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation is investigating hundreds of cases of fraud and corruption as it prepares to implement its R900 billion water master plan.
In an interview with 702, spokesperson Makhosini Mgitywa said that the department was ‘multi-tasking’ by introducing the new plan and stamping out existing issues.
“As we speak we have about 800 cases of fraud, maladministration and corruption that are being investigated.
“That has caused huge problems inside the department itself because you have instances of multiple people resigning from a unit to avoid disciplinary action.
“So we have to find a way of removing the culture of maladministration but at the same time make sure we don’t gut the department.”
The planned clean-up at the Department of Water and Sanitation comes as minister Lindiwe Sisulu prepares to implement her new R900 billion water master plan over the next decade.
Announced in November 2019, the plan aims to improve the country’s water-supply and storage infrastructure and tackle a growing shortage of the resource.
A separate unit will be established to finance, manage and operate the national water infrastructure, while projects that are currently in the works will be expedited, Sisulu said.
“There is not enough water for a country that is industrialised with a high population growth.
“The demand simply outweighs the supply,” she said. “We need to constantly raise consciousness to preserve what we have.”
The department has said that more than one-third of available water is lost due to leaking pipes, ageing and broken infrastructure, vandalism and contamination.
Maintenance backlogs have been exacerbated due to funding shortfalls and a failure by municipalities and other users to pay for their supplies.