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OMM Programme builds water infrastructure to improve lives, strengthen economy

Olifants Management Model Programme

8th September 2023

     

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The Olifants Management Model Programme (OMM Programme) is the Lebalelo Water User Association’s flagship capital expenditure programme that aims to fast-track the construction of bulk and potable water infrastructure to supply targeted communities and commercial water users (such as mining companies and industrial users) in Sekhukhune District Municipality and Mogalakwena Local Municipality. It will also enhance water supply to the Polokwane Local Municipality. Established in 2002, the Association has built, operated and successfully maintained bulk raw water infrastructure for over 20 years.

The OMM Programme represents a synergistic, long-term social compact between Government and business

The OMM Programme is a collaboration between institutional members and commercial members. Institutional collaborators currently include the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS), Mogalakwena Local Municipality, Polokwane Local Municipality and Sekhukhune District Municipality. Commercial collaborators currently include African Rainbow Minerals, Anglo American Platinum, Assore, Bushveld Minerals, Cheetah Chrome, Corridor Resources, Fetakgomo Tubatse Industrial Park, Glencore-Merafe, Kadoma Investments, Impala Platinum, Ivanplats, Northam Platinum, Sibanye-Stillwater, Sylvania Platinum, Tameng Mining and Exploration, Vanadium Resources and Zijin Platinum.

Not only is the OMM Programme being funded on a 50:50 basis between commercial and institutional members, the decision-making responsibilities are shared equally through collaborative structures to protect all stakeholders’ interests and enhance accountability. Institutional interfacing and alignment between all the members has been key to maintaining the collaboration while moving the OMM Programme forward at a steady rate.

The OMM Programme is re-sequencing and expanding the ORWRDP

The Olifants River Water Resources Development Project's (ORWRDP) was conceptualised by DWS to relieve pressure on the Flag Boshielo Dam and to supply water to Polokwane, Mokopane and Sekuruwe. To date, Phases 1A, 2A and 2C have been built (see the map below). The OMM Programme is re-sequencing the construction of the remainder of the ORWRDP and expanding it to include potable water provision to meet revised water needs in the programme area in the middle Olifants catchment and reduce capital infrastructure costs.

The OMM Programme will enable water supply to Mokopane and Sekuruwe through Phases 2B and 2B+ and enhance water supply to Polokwane (through Phase 2F) by moving a portion of the Lebalelo Scheme’s current water supply from Flag Boshielo Dam to De Hoop Dam. Steelpoort and Burgersfort will also receive water through the OMM Programme. Once Phase 2F has been completed and connected to Phase 2F+ (which will be constructed by Lepelle Northern Water) at the Olifantspoort weir, the flow of water in the Lebalelo Scheme will be reversed (Phase 2H).

Resourcing partnerships will be established to not only construct defined bulk raw water and potable water infrastructure, but also operate and maintain it to ensure efficient and effective operation of the entire network, which aligns with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s recent newsletter in support of the effective and efficient maintenance of infrastructure.

In terms of progress, the construction on Southern Extension 2 (SE2) Phase 1 started in October 2022. Construction on Phases 2B and 2B+ is expected to start in the first quarter of 2024.

The OMM Programme aims to leverage infrastructure development to strengthen economic recovery across Limpopo

The OMM Programme will unlock the strategic mineral and industrial potential in the specified regions and bring with it much-needed potable water, water security, significant job creation and socio-economic development.

The OMM Programme’s key numbers and projected impact

  • 200 km of bulk raw water pipeline and ~675 km of bulk potable water pipelines will be built;
  • 140 communities will benefit from potable water to a yard connection (i.e. at the boundary of each stand), impacting about 390 000 people; and
  • 42 000 people will be impacted through direct, indirect and induced employment for the duration of the OMM Programme.

The OMM Programme’s socio-economic development (SED) strategy aims to develop and maintain a stable platform to support communities and provide a conducive environment for accelerated economic growth. One of the OMM Programme’s SED initiatives is a school upgrade programme that is equipping selected primary and secondary schools in targeted communities in Limpopo with innovative, modular infrastructure according to each school’s needs. The pilot project at Kwata Primary School in Ga-Phala was unveiled by Deputy Minister of Water and Sanitation David Mahlobo on March 15, 2023.

The Minister of Water and Sanitation has been a key driver of the OMM Programme

Minister of Water and Sanitation Senzo Mchunu officially launched the OMM Programme in Limpopo on  October 27, 2022, at the Ga-Malekana Tribal Authority in Steelpoort. This was followed by the turning of the first sod at the Spitskop Pump Station in Steelpoort, which signalled the start of construction on the OMM Programme.

Since the launch and sod-turning, there have been numerous engagements with the Minister, which culminated in the recent Presidential Imbizo in Sekhukhune in which President Ramaphosa referred specifically to the OMM Programme while introducing Minister Mchunu who went on to confirm Government’s funding commitment to the OMM Programme and outlined the benefits to the community members.

Pilot, replicate and scale – the Association’s mantra for future programmes

In addition to the implementation of the OMM Programme, the association is looking at more opportunities to collaborate with the highest levels of Government, the private sector and communities. We aim to demonstrate leadership in the water sector and, through the OMM Programme, be a strategic role model for future water delivery through a public-private collaboration model that may be replicated across South Africa so that more people may receive the benefits of a consistent supply of water.

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For more information, visit: https://lebalelo.co.za/omp/.

For any media-related queries, please contact Tim Boshoff at tim@lebalelo.co.za

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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