Citizens digging small holes at the shore to get pure water at the banks of the White Nile in Khartoum

After several years of delay, South Africa's Minister of Water and Sanitation Senzo Mchunu has announced the revival of the Umkhomazi Water Project worth R23 billion.

This project will ensure increased water security in the Umngeni Water Supply System that supplies water to eThekwini, uMgungundlovu, iLembe, Ugu, Harry Gwala District Municipality and Msunduzi Local Municipality.

Mchunu said the project's revival took place after several meetings with Minister of Finance Enoch Godongwana, Durban Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda and the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.

The Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority (TCTA), a state-owned entity charged with financing and implementing bulk raw water infrastructure projects, will work on the implementation of the project.

"This means that the ball is now in eThekwini's court to start consultations and complete them as soon as possible so that the project can really start without any further delays," the minister said, as reported by SA News.

These consultations will reportedly allow TCTA to raise 50% of the finance needed for the project on the market while the remaining 50% will be funded by the National Treasury, via a 25% loan to TCTA and a 25% grant.

"The contribution to the project from the fiscus enables the water that will be provided to be affordable to the municipalities. We now want TCTA to proceed with planning and design work right away so that construction can start as soon as possible in 2024 / 2025," Mchunu added.

The water and sanitation minister also updated the media about the department's progress in raising the Hazelmere Dam wall by 7.02 meters to provide additional water supply to eThekwini. Following the floods in the district, Aqueducts 1 and 2 were damaged. However, they have been repaired and are back online.

"The shortages of water in the South and other areas require a number of accelerated activities, including the completion of repairs to eThekwini's own south-bound Aqueduct. We are aware of several infrastructure projects by eThekwini, and these represent a positive development," Mchunu said.

The minister then introduced 12 newly appointed board members including Advocate Vusi Khuzwayo as the chairperson and Nothando Mkhize as the deputy chairperson.

Other board members are Senamile Masango, Khanyisani Shandu, Sylvia Mhlongo, Lavandran Gopaul, Hlengiwe Mvubu, Timothy Cornish, Diana Hoorzuk, Sipho Mtolo and Sibusiso Mkhize.

These individuals collectively possess qualifications in the fields of science, engineering, law and finance, according to Mchunu.