Saturday, 10 October 2020 10:21

 

Photo Credit:Stock Photo.

Water and Sanitation Deputy Minister, David Mahlobo has instructed the departmental officials to move with speed in implementing remedial actions contained in the Public Protector’s report on the construction of Nandoni Dam.

The Public Protector’s report follows dissatisfaction from some community members affected by the construction of Nandoni Dam in the Vhembe District Municipality in Limpopo.

The Public Protector (PP) recommended that the department revisit the amounts payable for compensation and a review of the rate of payment for fruit farmers, or consider making separate payments for the loss of land rights, fruit trees and loss of production, agricultural equipment and fences.

It also found that the department did not have a post-resettlement plan to deal with complaints raised by affected communities, who lost their homesteads during relocations and agricultural land.

This week, Mahlobo convened a meeting with officials responsible for the full implementation of the PPs remedial action to receive a progress report on actions to date.

While acknowledging some progress, Mahlobo urged those involved, to pick up the pace of the implementation, as “it is unfair to keep affected communities waiting.”

“So far, the department is at 81% in completing the construction of new houses for the families that were moved and has made considerable progress in repairing houses with structural defects.

“The work is expected to be completed by June 2021 after it was initially hindered by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes 362 houses with structural defects in Budeli, Mulenzhe, Dididi and Tshilungoma villages,” Mahlobo said. 

In March 2020, the Deputy Minister visited the area and met with various community representatives in an effort to understand some of their grievances and come up with solutions to the delayed compensation process.

During his visit, he recommended that the department should bring the required services to the people, in a bid to fast-track the compensation process by setting up helpdesks in affected villages.

Ten villages were subsequently assisted; however, the process was halted due to announcement of the nationwide Coronavirus lockdown.

With the country on alert level one, the helpdesks have been resuscitated and in full operation.

“The four remaining villages are being assisted with their documentation and verification of vendor forms. This process shortens the route of the collected documents, which were initially submitted, to construction site offices at Nandoni Dam, transferred to Tzaneen before finally reaching the Pretoria offices.

“A Nandoni Task Team Committee, consisting of two representatives from each affected village has also been established to help fast tract the process. The department has already received the list of representatives endorsed by the respective traditional leaders,” Mahlobo said.

The Deputy Minister has also committed to set up a high-level structure that will oversee the implementation of the Public Protector’s remedial actions and to address other matters that cannot be addressed by Nandoni Task Team committee.