Significant Achievement as Nandoni-Nsami Bulk Water Pipeline Project nears its practical conclusion

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As the Nandoni-Nsami Bulk Water Pipeline Project nears its practical conclusion, paving the way for residents to access tap water, Limpopo’s water utility, Lepelle Northern Water, conducted tests this week to deliver this vital resource to Giyani’s inhabitants through the 40.5km-long pipeline.

Dr. Nndweleni Mphephu, Chairperson of Lepelle Northern Water’s board, celebrated the project’s successful completion as a significant achievement in the entity’s journey of rejuvenation, which began just over two years ago with the installation of the new board.

The residents of Giyani have a cause for rejoicing as a significant achievement has been attained. Following nearly ten years of governmental pledges to provide clean water through their taps, over 55 villages in the region will finally have access to flowing tap water.

“The board, in collaboration with the Minister of Water and Sanitation, Senzo Mchunu, shared a strong commitment to completing the Giyani project. Upon his arrival, Minister Mchunu prioritized the necessary actions to conclude the project, emphasizing forward-looking strategies over dwelling on past issues.

As a board, we recognized the need for this approach to expedite the project. I’m pleased to announce that the Nandoni/Nsami pipeline project is currently channeling water to the Nsami Dam, contributing to its augmentation,” stated Mphephu proudly.

Construction cost for the Nandoni-Nsami Bulk Water Pipeline Project

The original budget for the project was R502 million. It was supposed to be completed in 2017. Now it amounts to R3 billion. The completion date has already been postponed more than ten times since its origin in 2014.

The Giyani bulk water project, initially slated to commence approximately a decade ago, aimed to deliver clean running water to 55 villages in Giyani, located in the Mopani district of Limpopo. This was to be achieved through the construction of a 320km-long pipeline, connecting the Nandoni dam as a water source to these villages.

However, in 2018, amid allegations of corruption related to the R3 billion project, former President Jacob Zuma tasked the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) with probing the initiative, which had been launched in 2014.

As of August 31, the practical completion of the pipeline has been officially recorded, and commissioning is underway. Subsequently, there will be a 12-month defects liability period, initiated once all remaining issues are addressed by the contractor.

These pipelines were designed to provide water to both Giyani and the larger Malamulele areas. Additionally, the project included the upgrade of the existing pump station at the Nandoni Water Treatment Plant, enabling the transfer of bulk raw water to the Nsami Canal. The project Involved the construction of two bulk water pipelines, one measuring 500mm in diameter and the other 800mm in diameter.

The comprehensive scope of this pipeline project encompassed both the 500mm diameter pipeline serving the Giyani area and the 800mm diameter pipeline and its associated branches supplying water to Malamulele and its neighboring regions.

Upon joining the water utility in 2021, Mphephu identified specific strategic and operational priorities that required focused attention and action.

“Our strategic priorities encompassed a primary focus on fulfilling our core mandate, which primarily involves bulk water provision. This was crucial because, at the time, external projects were encroaching on this mandate, which contravenes the Water Services Act. Furthermore, we aimed to expand our operational coverage to encompass the entirety of the Limpopo province, especially in areas that lacked water services.

To achieve these objectives, it was imperative to address our operational priorities. This entailed a thorough examination of our governance structure, including reviewing and rectifying any gaps in human resources, supply chain management, financial management, operational efficiency, and project management,” emphasized Mphephu.

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