Is the Kwakwani $23M pipeline project to be a white elephant?

Dear Editor,

Two months ago, the residents of Kwakwani were invited to an historic event, being the signing of a contract valued $83M to upgrade their water treatment plant and pipe network. As a concerned resident, I made it my duty to be present so that I could hear about it for myself and participate in any discussion, as this would be a benefit for my community.

At this historic event, I specifically asked, “What will become of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Programme (PRSP) $23 million water-line project?” This project involved the laying of a new network of pipelines to replace the asbestos and corroded galvanized pipelines. I was told that this $83 million contract would be used to make individual service connections to the $23 million network and rehabilitate the water treatment plant.

Editor, to say that I am angry and upset about what I am hearing from residents and the foolishness I saw on the ground, is putting it mildly. They are installing connections to the old pipelines, and not the $23M pipelines. I just cannot see the sense in installing an additional service connection for residents to the old corroded galvanized pipe network.

As a participant of the PSRP consultations, from the community to the national level, I was directly involved in this donor agencies‘ funded project. It was virtually impossible for them not to sign on when they heard about the state of the Kwakwani network. After all these years, the non-use of these pipelines will not go down well with the international donors who funded the project.

Even though I am happy and grateful to the contractor for keeping his promise to employ most of the labour force from Kwakwani, I will not accept that the $23 million network of pipes that was  laid for the residents of Kwakwani to stop using water from the old mains must be converted to a white elephant.

Yours faithfully
Jocelyn Morian

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