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Khato Civils, the engineering firm which stopped work on the Giyani Bulk Water Project due to non-payment, has said it will “fully co-operate” with investigations after a six-year-old child died as a result of falling into one of the manhole chambers left incomplete in the area. The tragedy has led to fresh calls being made for the Limpopo project to resume immediately.

The R3 billion project, which was meant to supply water to 55 villages in the Giyani area, stalled when the Water and Sanitation Department allegedly ran out of money to pay the contractor. Khato Civils ceased work, retrenching nearly 1 000 workers as a result of the situation.

New calls for Giyani Bulk Water Project to resume

Reports indicate that only five villages have received water since 2014, thanks to government’s non-payment. Khato Civils, which has previously threatened to take legal action against the Department to recoup all monies owed, has stated that work will resume when it is paid.

The Water and Sanitation Department says it's working with Treasury to finalise arrangements to make more money available. According to spokesperson for the Department, Sputnik Ratau, it was concluding funding for the last part of the project. “There was an intention to actually finalise the funding for the final project, working around the funding in consultation with the National Treasury, our regional office as well as our implementing region,” he told reporters.

In a statement, Mongezi Mnyani, Khato Holdings group CEO, said that 6-year-old Nsuku Mhlongo’s death was “tragic and regrettable”. “We have dispatched our own team to investigate the incident. Our team is also working round the clock in conjunction with Mopani District Municipality to find out what happened and prevent a recurrence of a similar incident in future. We are equally inquiring to find out the truth because we pulled out of site in September due to non-payment by the employer. Therefore, for four months to date, there has been no activities on site and no maintenance and safeguarding of the pipelines,” he said.

Image credit: http://www.khatocivils.com/giyani/

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