Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) Chief Executive Officer Mmetla Masire’s unexpected departure announced on Tuesday, left staff and close observers shocked.
Highly placed sources at the parent ministry have revealed that Masire was forced to resign or face axing from the job as he was viewed as stumbling block in the North South Carrier (NSC II).
Masire, who hold a Bachelor of Engineering from University of Wales, is allegedly not in support of the proposed re-alignment of the scope of NSC II.
Things allegedly came to a stand-still during a board meeting three weeks ago when deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services, Dr Obolokile Obakeng and ministry’s hydrologist Dr Kobamelo Dikgola informed them that government had taken decision to resuscitate the 100 kilometres pipeline which was rejected by Cabinet last year.
In an interview recently Dikgola denied that they are in a process of changing the scope of NSC II to the old scope.
Masire and his team reasoned that reverting to the old scope will mean the country will have proper supply only in 2025, something they viewed as not fair to the nation and that it did not make economic sense.
The entire project NSC 2.2 from Palapye to Mmamashia Treatment Plant (270km) has four contracts; contracts 01-04. Masama to Mmamashia pipeline will cost P1.3 billion, Mahalapye to Masama P1.1 billion, and Palapye to Mahalapye 1.3 billion. The last one is associated feeder tanks and break pressure tanks which will cost P800 million.
“The Project Management Officers (PMO) who are mostly water engineers and some specialising in engineering economics made it clear that they will expose the corruption which seems to be done by senior government officials regarding the NSC II,” revealed a highly placed source, stating that a preferred company was even been mentioned.
Pipeline will be a disaster
“This 100km pipeline will only bring water from Masama (60mega litres) and this is groundwater which is being used by Artesia and Masama. It was never conceptualised as a permanent source but rather as an emergency source,” revealed a worried water engineer.
NSC II will bring 120 mega liters of water per day down the pipeline with 110 mega liters per day reaching Mmamashia Water Treatment Plant Works. The 110 mega liters per day will ensure water security within the eastern corridor all the way to Sekhutlhane. The other 10 mega litres will remain at Mahalapye to supply Tswapong South villages.
Last month another senior executive at WUC was left shocked when his contract was terminated with immediate effect by the board. This is said to have been part of the scheme to get rid of those who have been resistant to the instructions from the minister’s office. .
Last week some of the Project Management Officers who were in charge of the implementation and supervision of the NSC II were put on transfer to the Department of Water Affairs and other ministries.