South Africa set to construct Phase1 of Mzimvubu water project

25 September 2018

South Africa is set to embark solely on phase1 of Mzimvubu water project by South African companies despite the Chinese government given a go-ahead to invest.

Minister Water and Sanitation, Gugile Nkwinti, said: “Work on the project is expected to start in January 2019 with the department having already set aside a budget for the construction of the dam in the 2019/2020 financial,” said Gugile Nkwinti.

Mzimvubu water project has two multi-purpose dams on the Tsitsa River, a major tributary to the Mzimvubu River. To make the scheme sustainable throughout its life, the two dams will be operated and built as one integrated scheme. Phase one of the Mzimvubu River catchment will be built by the integrated scheme.

The project is estimated to cost US $1.1bn. Although the construction is dependent on availability of funds, it is estimated that the project will not take less than seven years.

According to Trevor Balzer, Deputy Director General: Strategic and Emergency projects in the department, it’s estimated that 6700 jobs will be created during the construction and an additional 600 jobs during the catchment rehabilitation. He further added that the use of local suppliers and local employment is central to the success of the Mzimvubu project.

A new dam at Ntabelanga on the Tsitsa River will also be built as result of the project. The dam will have a storage capacity of ±490 million cubic metres. It will also include a hydropower plant that generates 7MW of power.

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