Social media posts claimed that the KwaZulu-Natal education department paid R170 000 per water tank when, in fact, they paid less than R6 000.
South Africa (23 June 2020) – Rand Water has expressed concern about inflated prices that are being thrown around in the media, overstating the suppliers’ costs for water tankers.
Social media posts claimed that the KwaZulu-Natal education department paid R170 000 per water tank when, in fact, they paid less than R6 000. The media then picked up on the posts and reported that these were, in fact, the actual costs. This is exactly how many fake news stories are born, and the reason an article explaining the truth is so important. The South African government are embroiled in corruption news stories, so it is easy for misinformation to be taken at face value but in the same breath, we need to celebrate the “small wins” and the fact that many schools will be benefiting from finally having water, is actually a big win!
According to Rand Water, they have partnered with the Department of Basic Education’s national return to school programme to ensure safe and clean water for those school communities in need, as the nation battles with Coronavirus, which has claimed close to 2 000 lives in the country.
“We were appointed as the implementing agent, after an implementation protocol between ourselves and the Departments of Basic Education (DBE) and Water and Sanitation (DWS) was finalised on 13 May 2020,” the water utility explained.
Rand Water said the implementation protocol is per the Intergovernmental Relations Act, 2005 (Act No 13 of 2005).
“We have noted with concern the misinformation quoted in media articles, as well as on social media platforms exaggerating the supplier costs for water tanks used during the intervention,” Rand Water said.
Also, Rand Water said all the service providers contracted as part of this intervention are accredited vendors registered on the National Treasury’s Central Supplier Database (CSD).
“The CSD is a database of organisations, institutions and individuals, who can provide goods and services to government. It is the single source of key supplier information for organs of State since April 2016, and it provides consolidated, accurate, up-to-date, complete and verified supplier information to procuring organs of State,” the water utility said.
All the costs for the successful implementation of the intervention fall within the market price range for the equipment and installation costs utilised for the intervention, Rand Water said.
According to Rand Water, the cost for the supply of a 5 000 litre tank ranged between R4 500 and R5 400.
Meanwhile, the cost for the supply of a 10 000 litre tank ranged between R9 000 and R10 800.
“The Implementation Protocol has a contractual value of R600 million to be payable by the DBE to Rand Water. To date, the DBE has transferred an amount of R200 million to Rand Water.”
Rand Water said according to the agreement between parties; their role is to supply and install water tanks and provide water-cutting services to the respective schools during the declared national disaster period.
“An important second phase of the intervention is the construction of sustainable water sources for the schools through borehole drilling and pumping, as well as the establishment of reticulation systems to the closest source of water, wherever possible.”
There was also a social media post on Twitter claiming the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education purchased water tankers for R170 000 each. The department in the province has since disputed it.