By Poelo Matlala
While the country was under strict lockdown regulations due to COVID-19, officials from various sections of Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (MISA) were working around the clock to ensure that communities with water scarcities received immediate relief.
MISA partnered with Tirisano Trust Fund and the Development bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) to drill new boreholes and refurbish existing water and sanitation infrastructure. This project aims to combat the spread of the pandemic by ensuring that all communities have access to water that will enable them to practice the necessary hygiene measures required to reduce Covid-19 infections.
The interventions come as part of the COVID-19 intervention plan as tabled by the department during a special MINMEC held on 20 March 2020 to discuss the department’s state of readiness. In her remarks, Minister Dlamini Zuma emphasized the need for the Department to come up with an immediate plan of action that will see the three spheres of government working in a coordinated manner to ensure provision of water to informal settlements and rural areas. She also emphasized that the plan will take the District Development Model approach.
The funding provided by Tirisano and DBSA has gone a long way in enabling MISA to provide assistance to various municipalities with immediate COVID-19 interventions. This partnership has ensured that there is an increase of water supply in far flung drought stricken areas. To date, a total of 11 solar powered boreholes have been drilled, 7 in the Eastern Cape under OR Tambo District Municipality,2 in KwaZulu Natal under uBuhlebezwe Local Municipality and 2 in Northern Cape under Dawid Kruiper Local Municipality. Through dedication and commitment to serve, the lengthy process of drilling, yield testing, water quality testing, equipping, and commissioning of boreholes took only a month to be completed.
Speaking to Tat’Tshawe, a community member of Mndeni Village in the Eastern Cape, he said “before this intervention we had no access to clean water and now water has been made readily available to use. He also committed to safeguard the infrastructure and to encourage other community members to do so.”
MISA is currently rolling out a plan to drill more COVID-19 boreholes across all nine provinces.