JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – South Africa is in talks with Zimbabwe for the supply of water to the parched Makhado region.

The long-delayed multi-billion rand Makhado-Musina Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Limpopo is being hampered by a lack of reliable water supply.

Seaparo Sekoati, the Member of the Executive Council (MEC)for Economic Development and Environmental Affairs said they had engaged Zimbabwe after realising that the supply of bulk water to the SEZ may be a huge challenge.

The area borders Zimbabwe to the north.

“Zimbabwe is keen to provide water to the SEZ,” Sekoati said.

Sputnik Ratau of South Africa’s Department of Water and Sanitation said the talks were still at an initial phase.

“This might lead… to one of the dams in Zimbabwe feeding water into the Makhado area in Limpopo,” says Ratau.

He, however, did not provide much detail on Zimbabwe’s involvement.

Last week, opposition Democratic Alliance leader, Mmusi Maimane, submitted a memorandum to the Limpopo Economic Development Agency (LEDA) in Polokwane demanding transparency in the development of the much-anticipated SEZ.

LEDA, which is a lead implementing agent, has a 51% stake in the project in which nine Chinese companies will invest R145 billion.

In the memorandum, the DA demanded, amongst others, that it be made public the terms and conditions of the investment, the plan to build a new power station at the SEZ area despite it not appearing in the country’s IRP and

The project may take up to five years to be fully functional.