GRAAFF-REINET NEWS - "I am terrified that a flood will come after the drought and the dam wall will break," MP Samantha Graham-Maré told the Advertiser about the unstable state of the Nqweba Dam in Graaff-Reinet.
Graham-Maré raised her concern in parliament last week, after which Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu ordered that independent experts must be appointed to repair the 46m-high wall.
"It was built between 1921 and 1925 when flood estimates were based on insufficient data," Sisulu said.
According to Graham-Maré, the municipality became aware of the issue in 2012, after surveys of the dam wall found that it was compromised. "As the municipality could not afford to repair the dam wall, it was handed over to the Department of Water Affairs, but nothing happened," Graham-Maré explained.
She believes now is the ideal time to repair the wall, as the dam is currently empty.
In 2013, it was estimated that it would cost about R100-million to restore the wall. Sisulu stated that the project was halted after disputes over the state of the dam wall.
"One of the reports stated that the wall did comply with the necessary safety standards." At the time, Nomvula Mokonyane was still Minister of Water Affairs and Sanitation.
Sisulu added that the department must urgently find money to address the issue. Graham-Maré said no budget or time frame is currently available, but she will monitor the situation closely.
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