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Migration and urbanisation have strained SA’s ageing and poorly maintained water and sanitation infrastructure, a water summit heard on Tuesday. As a result scores of municipalities experience chronic system failures. Communities frequently go without piped water, sometimes for weeks on end. No fewer than three ministers — those of water and sanitation, of energy and of small business development — rallied in a call for investment in infrastructure in SA’s water and sanitation sector at the Water Infrastructure Investment Summit at the Sandton Convention Centre on Tuesday. The ministers agreed, with emphasis, that the state could not be expected to bear the funding burden on its own and that the only way the challenges would be met was through private-public partnerships. The Department of Water and Sanitation estimates the investment gap over 10 years varies from R330bn on new infrastructure to up to R1-trillion if all infrastructure maintenance, upgrades and planned initiatives we...

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