Minister of Water and Sanitation (DWS), Senzo Mchunu, has emphasised that the department and Rand Water followed all the due processes prior to opening the 12 sluice gates at the Vaal Dam following heavy rains.
This follows concerns and allegations that some residents only had a two-hour notice before water started filling their houses.
Addressing the media outside the Vaal Barrage, Mchunu said the first part of communication took place between the department and Rand Water, noting that the department’s officials manage the Vaal Dam, while Rand Water operates the Barrage.
“All the rules and regulations and operational rules were followed, firstly internally. Beyond that, we had the chairperson of the community who said that all lines of communication were open and he took responsibility and flooded everybody with communication as they were receiving it from Rand Water and DWS,” Mchunu explained.
He added that everyone should be held accountable and emphasised that what happened was a “natural disaster that cannot be attributed to any form of negligence on anyone.”
“At all times we want to do better and improve in our response to natural disasters and we cannot do this alone, we need to work together,” the Minister said.
The Minister expressed his sympathy to the residents, whose homes and businesses are located in the flood line, and have lost or left with damaged property.
Accompanied by his deputies, Dikeledi Magadzi and David Mahlobo, Mchunu visited the Vaal on Thursday, to assess water infrastructure and the aftermaths of the recent floods in the area.
Mchunu first visited the Vaal Dam to check the level of the dam and subsequently closed one sluice gate.
To date, eight sluice gates have been closed; leaving four open as part of dam safety standards and procedures to manage water inflows upstream the Vaal River.
The Minister’s visit to the Vaal Dam was followed by an inspection at the Vaal Barrage and later visited a nearby community that was adversely affected by the floods, where he received feedback from Rand Water and various affected stakeholders, including community members.
Launch of National Water Month
Meanwhile, Mchunu will today, 3 March 2023 officially launch National Water Month by conducting an inspection of Bulk Water Supply Projects in Mpumalanga and Limpopo.
This year’s National Water Month will be observed under the theme “Accelerating change”, a call on government of the world, water sector and society at large to work together to accelerate change to solve water challenges.
Source: South African Government News Agency