24 March 2014
President Jacob Zuma officially opened the R3-billion, 347-million cubic metre De Hoop Dam in Sekhukhune, Limpopo province on Monday.
Built on the Steelpoort River, with a wall approximately 1 015 metres long and 81 metres high, the De Hoop Dam is the 13th largest dam in South Africa and one of the largest to be built in the country in the last 20 years.
It is also one of the projects falling under the Presidential Infrastructure Coordination Commission, established by Zuma in 2012 to coordinate and fast-track infrastructure projects in the country.
Zuma said that the dam would be used for two primary purposes. “The first is to supply water to the towns, industries and poorly serviced rural communities in the Sekhukhune, Waterberg, and Capricorn Districts of the Limpopo province. Secondly, the dam will supply water to the mines in order to help unlock vast mineral deposits, mainly in the form of platinum group metals found in the region.
“The dam will therefore be a catalyst for both social and economic development for this region.”
Zuma said the dam would change the lives of thousands of people in the province, including those living in GaMashabela near Jane Furse – a small rural town about 80 kilometres south-east of Limpopo’s legislative capital, Lebowakgomo.
“People still have to walk through thick and thorny bushes to reach the wells of Ntsoaneng GaKgari Mountains in order to access fresh water,” Zuma said. “Some of the residents still rely on borehole water which is insufficient to meet the demand of these communities.”
He added that a new pipeline from Jane Furse to Lobethal, catering for the villages of Ga-Mashabela, Diphagane, Ga-Phahla,Ga-Marishane, Tisane and Mamone, was 70% complete, while a pipeline from Mooihoek to Tubatse was 100% complete.
“The pipeline will provide water to the villages including Mandagshoek, Mashabela, Ntsoaneng, Driekop and River Cross. The bulk distribution system connected to the dam will ensure that, over a period of time, all the people of this area will be served with an uninterrupted water supply, which is the ultimate goal of government.”
SAnews.gov.za and SAinfo reporter