President Jacob Zuma: Reply to parliamentary questions

16 Sep 2015

Question No: 3122

The Leader of the Opposition (DA) to ask the President of the Republic:

1. Is he aware of the report into the Madibeng Local Municipality water crisis that was put together by the Department of Water and Sanitation, which estimates that between 15 to 20 municipalities are faced with severe water shortages and collapsing water infrastructure;

2. What special projects is (a) he or (b) his Cabinet Ministers undertaking  to mitigate the water crisis facing the (i) specified municipality and (ii) various municipalities faced with a water supply system collapse as identified by the Department of Water and Sanitation's report;

3. Has he, in co-operation with the Department of Water and Sanitation, commissioned any academic studies into the economic impact of recent prolonged water shortages in urban municipal areas such as (a) Johannesburg, (b) Ekhuruleni, (c) Madibeng and others; if not, why not; if so, what are the findings of these studies?


Departments prepare and commission many investigations in the course of executing their sector responsibilities and mandates and not all of these reports are brought to my attention. The outcome of these reports and investigations is however used by departments to develop specific intervention programmes where appropriate.

In the Case of Madibeng, this Municipality has been placed under Administration, with effect from 23 March 2015, by the Provincial Government in terms of Section 139(1)(b) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa with regard to the Water and Sanitation Functions of the Municipality. The key reasons for placing the Municipality under administration with regard to these services are due to:

  • Poor water and sanitation services which often result in water supply disruptions and poor water quality;
  • Poor maintenance and operations of water and sanitation infrastructure;
  • Uneven provision of services to communities; and
  • Project delays due to prolonged processes and possible fraud and corruption.

The Department of Water and Sanitation is working with the Provincial Government of North West to implement a programmatic intervention which is addressing the reasons for the intervention.

The Departments of Water and Sanitation and Co-operative Governance have developed and are implementing support programmes and interventions as part of the Back to Basics programme for prioritized municipalities across the country facing water and sanitation shortages and infrastructure disruptions.

These support programmes also take into account the outcomes from the Municipal Strategic Self-assessment System (MuSSA), the Blue and Green Drop Assessments as well as the diagnostic reports conducted by the Provinces.

Reporting on progress and monitoring of the interventions is done through the CoGTA MINMEC, the Implementation Forum for Outcome 9 and the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Basic Services.

2. Successes in Local Government and interventions

The following progress has been made


  • Water supply has been stabilized and Grahamstown is now receiving water on a continuous basis. There is currently no disruption to educational institutions. The success has been largely due to the deployment of Amatola Water and support from the Department of Water Affairs in the Province;
  • Key interventions have been made to restore the supply of electrical, which has enhanced the capacity of pump stations; the refurbishment of raw water rising main; the restoration of plant capacity; and reduction and control of water losses.
  • A five year "turnaround plan/road map” was finalized following the Water and Sanitation Summit held in March 2015;


  • We have reinstated the water supply systems in Majakaneng which had not been working for eight years, through a very successful community based leak detection and repair programme under the management of Magalies Water;
  • The programme is now be rolled out to the broader Madibeng Municipality;
  • Twelve Water Forums have been established;
  • Good progress has been made to increase of the capacity and optimization of the Brits Water Treatment works;
  • A business plan has been finalized for the implementation of the five year "turnaround plan/road map”;

Ngaka Modiri Molema

  • Sedibeng Water has taken over the operations of the former Botshelo Water Board and will support the retail services in Mahikeng for the next five years;
  • We have seen the reduction of the water tanker services through the repair and reinstatement of infrastructure;
  • A business plan has been finalized for the implementation of the five year "turnaround plan/road map”;

In addition to these specific actions a Programme Management Office (PMO) has been established by the Department of Cooperative Governance, coordinated by the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agency to specifically address the ongoing water and sanitation problems in the 27 identified Priority District Municipalities.  A pipeline of projects is currently being compiled by the PMO for Amatola (EC) and Umzinyathi (KZN) District Municipalities.  Bojanala and Sekhukhune District Municipalities will be addressed next.

3. The Department of Water and Sanitation is not specifically commissioning studies to determine the economic impact of prolonged water shortages) in Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni and Madibeng.  It is however closely monitoring the state of non-revenue water (and water losses) in these Water Services Authorities (WSAs), and the economic impact this has, and to see whether the WSAs  are meeting their water conservation and demand management targets, which have set by the Department.

The department also (annually) monitors the vulnerability of all WSA nationally through Municipal Strategic Self Assessments, and is currently developing Municipal Priority Actions with these WSAs, based on the outcomes of the assessments, which feed into the WSA Water Service Development Plans, Integrated Development Plans, and Service Delivery Business Improvement Plans, to ensure that the identified areas of extreme and high vulnerability are addressed.

The above findings are available on the Water Services Knowledge System which is accessible on the website of the Department of Water and Sanitation.

Question No: 1788

The Leader of the Opposition (DA) to ask the President of the Republic:

What discussions were held between him and the President of the Russian Federation, Mr Vladimir Putin and/or any other Russian Federation government official during his visit to the specified country in May 2015?                                             


On 09 May 2015, I undertook a working visit to the Russian Federation at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin, to attend the 70th Anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 (WWII).

The visit was guided by South Africa's bilateral relations with the Russian Federation, which are informed by political, economic, social, defence and security cooperation and all the relevant legal instruments and mechanisms that affirm the strategic relationship between the two countries.

We held talks on the margins of the event which included an assessment of bilateral cooperation, the status and implementation of SA-Russia ITEC (Joint Intergovernmental Committee on Trade and Economic Cooperation) Agreements and preparations for the 13th SA-Russia ITEC Session to be hosted by the Russian Federation during the latter part of 2015.

We also discussed preparations for the 7th BRICS Summit which was hosted by Russia from 08 to 09 July 2015. We agreed on the need to intensify cooperation in various areas of cooperation.

Question No: 3144

Ms PT van Damme (DA) to ask the President of the Republic:

1. Whether anyone from his office ever requested the Department of Public Works to provide a state house to Mr Mac Maharaj during his tenure as his spokesperson; if so, (a) who made the request, (b) when was the request made and (c) what was the basis for the request;

2. In terms of what (a) policy or (b) legislation was the request made;

3. Whether the allocation of the state house in the Bryntirion Estate in Pretoria formed part of his salary package; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, how was this benefit calculated;

4. Whether The Presidency arranged for him to pay rent while he occupied the state house; if not, why not; if so, what rental amount was (a) requested and (b) paid?


1. There is no record of any official having made the said request to the Department of Public Works.
2. See 1 above
3. No
4. The Presidency does not allocate housing and therefore is not involved in rental arrangements.

Question No: 1787

The Leader of the Opposition (DA) to ask the President of the Republic:       

(1)On which exact dates did he visit the Russian Federation in May 2015?

(2)(a) how many government officials accompanied him on the specified visit, (b) what are the names of all non-government employees and persons who accompanied him on the specified visit and (c) what was the total cost of (i) flights, (ii) accommodation, (iii) travel within the Russian Federation and/or (iv) entertainment of the entire delegation during the specified visit?          


The visit to the Russian Federation was on 08-09 May 2015. Seventy-nine (79) officials from the Presidency and other departments accompanied me. Air travel costs incurred by the Department of International Relations and cooperation and the Presidency amounted to R179 124.93, while the accommodation of the entire delegation costed R627 630.54. Ground transport costs were R149 893.67.

Question No: 2777

Mr S Mokgalapa (DA) to ask the President of the Republic:.    

Whether (a) he and (b) any officials in his Office travelled to China in the 2014-15 financial year; if so, what was the (i) purpose of each specified visit and (ii)(aa) total cost and (bb) breakdown of such costs of each specified visit? 


(a) Yes, I travelled to China during the 2014/15 financial year
(b) Yes, officials from my office travelled with me to China

(i) The purpose was to embark on a State Visit on 04 and 05 December 2014, where the following issues were deliberated upon:

  • to review the status of South Africa's bilateral relations with China;
  • to adopt the Five-to-Ten Year Strategic Programme for Cooperation;
  • to commit China to South Africa's industrialisation agenda development finance and request an increase in training slots;
  • Discussing the high level Forum on Africa and China meeting that will take place in South Africa in December 2015;
  • to encourage China to commit to assist in establishing the African Regional Centre on the New Development Bank; and
  • Conclude the 2014 year of South Africa in China.

(ii) Total costs related to the logistics of the visit including accommodation and transport were R834, 868.64.

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