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‘Reconfiguration of entities to improve water provision’: Mchunu

Rand Water mandate to be extended to cover all of Gauteng and Mpumalanga

Water and sanitation minister Senzo Mchunu reiterated that the process of reconfiguration will not result in job losses and is meant to strengthen capacity, improve institutional efficiencies and enable water boards to better support water services authorities. Stock image.
Water and sanitation minister Senzo Mchunu reiterated that the process of reconfiguration will not result in job losses and is meant to strengthen capacity, improve institutional efficiencies and enable water boards to better support water services authorities. Stock image.
Image: 123RF/maridav

Water and sanitation minister Senzo Mchunu says the department is moving with speed in efforts to reconfigure its water boards to fast-track the provision of water and sanitation services to all.

Mchunu said the changes will address transformation challenges, increase water access to unserviced areas, enhance market capitalisation for infrastructure projects and reduce the skewed supply of water.

“This process will ensure water boards provide services to areas where there is no provision. However, this process is not an imposition but due process is undertaken to bring on board all relevant stakeholders, including water service authorities in provinces in which these services are being extended, to ensure sustainable supply in all parts of our country.

“The reality is the expenditure to implement projects and the demand for services are both too high, yet the delivery by government institutions is too low and we need to fix this as a matter of urgency,” he said.

Mchunu said the reconfiguration of all water boards is an implementation of resolutions at the National Water and Sanitation Summit held early last year wherein stakeholders converged to come up with ways to improve the sector.

He said this is meant to give adequate support to under-capacitated water services authorities to meet the ever-increasing demand for services by communities and ensure adequate capacity with quality and skilled engineers.

Mchunu said the department has consulted all relevant stakeholders in KwaZulu-Natal to create a single water entity by incorporating Mhlathuze Water into Umgeni Water. The process is expected to be finalised by the end of February and a new board appointed in April 2023.

The department said the scope of Rand Water will be extended to cover all of Gauteng and Mpumalanga.

“Consultations with the affected stakeholders are ongoing and a gazette notice for public comments has been published and closed on January 23. Lepelle Northern Water’s boundary is also being extended to service all of Limpopo. Technical discussions between Lepelle Water and Magalies Water to take over areas served by Magalies are under way,” it said.

Magalies Water’s scope will expand to service all of the North West, taking over from Sedibeng Water which was disestablished last year. Magalies’ functions and assets in Gauteng and Limpopo will be transferred to Rand Water and Lepelle Water respectively.

Bloem Water will service all of the Free State and the Northern Cape as part of the reconfiguration.

Department spokesperson Wisane Mavasa said the utility took over the staff, assets and liabilities of Sedibeng Water with effect from August 2022.

“A new name has been proposed for this entity to accommodate Northern Cape customers. The incorporation of Sedibeng Water into Bloem and Magalies has gone smoothly, and transfer agreements have been signed and operational funds transferred to Bloem Water and Magalies Water respectively,” she said.

Mavasa said in the Eastern Cape, Amatola Water’s scope has been extended to cover the entire province and all due processes are unfolding while the process to select new board members is under way.

Mchunu has reiterated the process will not result in job losses and is meant to strengthen capacity, improve efficiencies and enable water boards to better support water services authorities.

TimesLIVE


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