President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced R25 billion for infrastructure projects in the Waterberg District Municipality in Limpopo.
The projects are expected to, among other things, address issues of severe water shortages in the district which is made up of the Bela-Bela, Lephalale, Modimolle-Mookgophong, Mogalakwena and Thabazimbi local municipalities.
Addressing residents at the Shongoane Sports Ground in Lephalale recently, the President said government would in the next five years complete the Moloko Water Resource Project.
During the period, government would also pursue the Waterberg rail-line and build several much-needed schools in various communities in the district.
“We know that the people of this district are confronted with severe unemployment and poverty. We know about the problems of water, electricity, sanitation and roads. We know about access to land,” he said.
Government, he said, was also aware of the poor telecommunications network that frustrates economic development in the area.
“We need to attract investment in the area. We recently held the second SA Investment Conference and we raised R363 billion from private investment,” he said.
A portion of that money was to be invested in the mining district.
“Government will invest R25 billion over the next five years, and that’s a lot of money. Some companies will in this period implement 74 projects worth R580 billion in infrastructure and enterprise development projects,” said the President.
The investment should be able to help government intensify its mission to assist small businesses, especially those headed by the youth and women.
“We have to work together as the community, business and various organisations. We are committed to creating jobs. We want to build schools and TVET colleges to address the issue of education,” said President Ramaphosa.
High levels of unemployment
He decried the heightened levels of poverty and unemployment in Waterberg.
“A lot of people here don’t work. A lot of people in this district are poor and rely on social grants. If it were not for social grants, a lot of people would be hungry. That’s the profile we saw,” he said.
This was among some of the issues the District Development Model seeks to address. “It is to make sure that says there is one plan for one district with a set budget. National government will know how much is needed, for example, in Waterberg,” said the President.
With the model already being piloted in the OR Tambo District, eThekwini Metro and now the Waterberg District, government will in time assess the programme before rolling it out to the rest of the country.
The District Development Model has been approved by government structures, including Cabinet, to integrate service delivery that will be more practical, achievable, implementable, measurable and clearly aligned to the key priorities of government.
The model seeks to change the face of rural and urban landscapes by ensuring complementarity between urban and rural development, with a deliberate emphasis on local economic development. It is about putting local government at the centre of the country’s growth and development.
President Ramaphosa said it was encouraging that the model had received support from all sectors of society, including traditional and business leaders.
In meetings with traditional leaders and businesses in the area, the President said, made it apparent that the water shortages was what required the most urgent attention.
The stakeholders also said they wanted a clinic, a university and to see services and development brought closer to them.
“This can only be done if we work together as business, government [and] traditional leaders. Waterberg has great potential. We can focus on mining, yes, but we must also focus on agriculture and tourism,” he said.
“Waterberg is one of the most scenic areas in the country and we want to take advantage of that.”
He added: “Every project will be known by the people so that we can all be held accountable. There will be monitoring... those who do not perform, those who want to steal, will be shown the door. We must implement. It’s a model that says: ‘we must work’.”
The President was hopeful that this approach would lead to a reduction in service delivery protests.
“They won’t happen if people know government’s plans so there won’t be a need to vandalise infrastructure.” - SAnews.gov.za