DWS Minister Mokonyane in hot water

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) is taking Mokonyane to court over the delay of the Lesotho Highlands project.

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Minister Mokonyane, has jeopardised Gauteng’s water security by delaying the development of the LHWP II for more than two years. Image: Outa

In response to growing concerns regarding governance, transparency and corruption within the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS), the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) is taking legal action against the DWS over the delay of a major water project.

According to Outa, there was serious maladministration arising from the Lesotho Highland Water Project Phase Two (LHWP II) and it is seeking to hold the minister accountable for the delay of the project.

“We are building a legal case to hold the minister accountable as the custodian and regulator of water due to her maladministration and to hold her accountable for her delays to the LHWP II. We’ve served the minister with a legal letter of demand,” Outa states.

Among its demands is that Minister of Water and Sanitation, Nomvula Mokonyane, replace the current interim board and restore the board of the Lesotho Highland Development Authority (LHDA).

Nomvula Mokonyane
Nomvula Mokonyane. 
Image: Karabo Ngoepe, News24

While Outa is calling for the reinstatement of the technical sub-committee as well, its demands also include the imbursement of all the fines arising from the Lesotho Highland Water Project Phase I (LHWP I) corruption trials.

Outa also insists that the LHDA anti-corruption policy is enforced, with confirmation that business will not be conducted with those found guilty of corruption in LHWP I.

According to the investigative body, Mokonyane ‘jeopardised’ Gauteng’s water security by delaying the development of the LHWP II for more than two years, adding that she has cost South African taxpayers about R2-billion.

Outa’s allegations include that Mokonyane attempted to ensure that her preferred service providers ‘got their cut’ of the R25-billion value project.

Julius Kleynhans, Portfolio director for Water at Outa had this to say, “This project was supposed to provide water to Gauteng next year, yet it hasn’t started and now it’s estimated that the project will not supply any water before 2025.” 

Julius Kleynhans MM
Julius Kleynhans, portfolio director for water at Outa.
Image: Roodepoort Record

He added that the minister, “has failed in her duty to proactively ensure water supply to the region and she continues to fail,” and called on all citizens to hold her accountable.

Kleynhans also voiced concern over Mokonyane’s track record in procurement and management, saying, “Delaying water supply for personal gain has detrimental effects on equality.”

Department spokesperson, Sputnik Ratau confirmed receipt of the letter and saying, “I have verified that Outa’s letter has been received. The department will attend to the matters contained therein within the prescripts of the law.”

 

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