Freedom Front Plus
Freedom Front Plus

R600 million spent on water supply and tanks for schools – Minister’s response leads to more questions than answers

The Department of Basic Education has deviated from the normal procurement procedure and awarded a tender of more than R600 million to the Rand Water Board.

According to an answer provided by the Minister of Basic Education, Ms Angie Motshekga, the tender will ensure that 3 500 schools are provided with water and water tanks. Her vague response, however, leads to more questions than answers.

The following questions all remain unanswered: how many schools are linked to a municipal water network; how many boreholes (if any) were sunk on schoolgrounds; the distance that water supply lines had to be installed; whether the water tanks will be filled by means of waterpipes or watercarts; whether any of the waterpipes were laid according to formal requirements or whether they were simply laid on the ground or just below the surface; how many water tanks were provided and what is their combined capacity; to name but a few.

By doing a division sum, one realises that just more than R170 000 was spent per school. Average numbers are, however, problematic and do not necessarily provide reliable information about any one particular case.

So, the FF Plus obtained broad cost calculations from the industry:

According to these calculations, a 75 mm pipe can be laid, in compliance with the formal requirements, for R200 per meter. Thus, the amount will cover 800 m of pipelines and then there is an additional R10 000 for installing taps on the schoolgrounds. Another possibility is that the amount could cover 15 water tanks each holding 10 000 litres and then that could be used to supply the school premises with water. Otherwise, a borehole can be sunk and rigged at R100 00, which leaves R70 000 for water distribution infrastructure.

Thus, the spending in question seems to be excessive at first glance. Since lockdown commenced, the FF Plus warned that it could create circumstances in which reckless and unscrupulous people can exploit taxpayers.

The onus is now on the Minister of Basic Education to lay the suspicion brought about by this expenditure to rest by providing more comprehensive information.

Contact details: 074 166 5540



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