Department of Water and Sanitation Response to Carte Blanche

After missing multiple deadlines, the Department of Water and Sanitation finally responded to Carte Blanche on the Hartbeespoort Dam issues saying that R4 million was made available to mobilize five teams including specialists to help contain and remove the hyacinth. Boats, barges and 2km of rope have also been dispatched, to assist with their efforts. The Department also says that it is not considering herbicides at the moment.

You can read the full response below.

From: Ratau Sputnik
Date: 06 October 2017 at 3:44:29 PM SAST
To: Sasha Schwendenwein
Subject: Carte Blanche request

Dear Sasha,

Please see the responses below for your consideration. I know this is very late but I hope you will find it useful.


Sputnik Ratau

1. What has the department done about the hyacinth issue since April?

The Department Water and Sanitation (DWS) had transferred R4 mil to the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) through the Working for Water (WFW) programme in May 2017. Five teams totalling 50 workers were mobilized from other areas and employed for 3 months up to the end of August 2017. Another 10 teams made up of 100 workers are in the process of being employed by wfw very soon. These will include specialist teams that have the ability to operate boats and to work on heights.

2. Has the government given the community resources – money etc. to combat the issue?

Yes, DWS has availed resources to assist the public initiatives, including boats, barges and more than 2 km of rope to contain the hyacinths at the different removal points as agreed with the contractors.

3. The community feels the government has not participated enough to try and solve the issue, also that there has been no money allocated and that while cables were given to them, and a license to remove the hyacinth was granted – there hasn’t been a change – therefore the community has had to do that themselves and raise the money themselves. Your response?

The involvement from the community was an offer made by them to assist at their own cost. The three contractors that engage with DWS and DEA, did so based on this mobilization of community and corporate support offered by them.

4.  Are the department considering herbicide as an answer to curbing the problem?

DWS and DWA are not considering Herbicides at the moment.

I would need the answers by latest tomorrow 12 midday please. I would have preferred an on-camera interview as requested, but as the story needs to be finalized by Friday I cannot accommodate that, other than this afternoon.

Sputnik Ratau