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The Vaal River is quickly becoming the scene of an ecological disaster. Instead of finding ways to stop the sewage from flowing into the river, Rand Water’s CEO spends most of his time adding more decimals to his bonus package.
The Vaal River is the main source of water for large parts of Mpumalanga, Gauteng and the North West province.
Pump stations from the Emfuleni Municipality (the westernmost administrative division in the Sedibeng district) have been dumping raw sewage into the river, killing thousands of fish.
Where did the R1bn for the scheme to save Vaal River go?
In 2015, Nomvula Mokonyane, who is the former Minister of Water and Sanitation, put forward a project called the Sedibeng Regional Sewer Scheme. A total of R1bn was invested into the project, with the ambitious view that the funds would be used to help clear the sewage from the Vaal River.
One of the objectives mentioned in its implementation protocol was to address the
“spillage of raw sewage into the Vaal River and to deliver effective solutions to prevent pollution of strategic national water resources.”
Three years later, and the R1bn cannot be accounted for, neither can any of the objectives laid out in the implementation protocol of the Sedibeng Regional Sewer Scheme.
The shady dealings happening at Rand Water
Instead, Rand Water, which is the agent that was appointed to implement these objectives, has been the subject of allegations of mismanagement of funds.
The agent’s CEO, Percy Sechemane, has been scoring massive incentive bonuses of up to 75% since 2015.
The Department of Water and Sanitation’s remuneration policy, however, only allows for seniors to receive bonuses of up to 45%.
The most recent bonus package was issued to Sechemane in October 2017. It was a total of 48.7%, which is equivalent to R1.63m.
Tshidi Hashatse, who is Rand Water’s chairperson, mentioned the ‘excellent efforts’ Rand Water has achieved in the Vaal River as the motivation behind awarding Sechemane the bonus incentive.
She added that it was Sechemane’s
“extensive effort and contribution that deserved mention and appreciation.”
Furthermore, she confirmed that
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“the bonuses implemented to its chief executive remain in line… with prevailing policy.”
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