Water and Sanitation Minister consults KZN’s Water Service Authorities (WSA) on reconfiguring Umgeni and Mhlathuze Water into a single water board

Water and Sanitation Minister consults KZN’s Water Service Authorities (WSA) on reconfiguring Umgeni and Mhlathuze Water into a single water board

Senzo Mchunu, the Minister of Water and Sanitation, has discussed with the Water Service Authorities (WSA) in KwaZulu-Natal over the reconfiguration of two water boards, Umgeni and Mhlathuze Water, in order to establish a single water board.

Monday’s meeting at the Olive Convention Centre in Durban was attended by a number of mayors from KwaZulu-Natal who reinforced each other’s support for the concept.

The mayors underlined that the action will revolutionise the water industry and guarantee the efficient supply of water services.

Mchunu said that the primary objective of the restructuring of the two water boards is to provide appropriate capacity in the water sector via the employment of qualified engineers.

Mchunu emphasised that a single water organisation would be able to assist the under-resourced Water Services Authorities in meeting the province’s growing water demand.

“The single water board that we envisage needs to have the capacity to sustain itself with financial muscle, where it can raise money to render services on its own.

“The reality is that the expenditure to implement projects is too high, [and] the demand of services is also too high, however, the delivery by government institutions is too low, and we need to fix this as a matter of urgency,” Mchunu said.

He added that the reconfiguration of water boards is a result of the National Water and Sanitation Summit, held earlier this year, and “this is part of the resolutions and we are implementing.”

In addition, the Minister emphasised that the evaluation of the two water boards would examine financial sustainability, including the servicing of regions that are not presently covered, as well as the institutional complexity generated by having several water boards covering the same province.

“A single water board in KwaZulu-Natal is expected to address transformation challenges in the province, increase water access to un-serviced rural areas, enhance market capitalisation for infrastructure projects and reduce skewed supply of water amongst others,” Mchunu said.

The purpose of the reconfiguration of Umgeni and Umhlathuze Water Boards is to:

  • Strengthen the capacity and capability of the entity in Province (leveraging on existing technical skills);
  • Improve and enhance institutional efficiencies and rationalise the number of institutions in the water sector to ensure economies of scale;
  • Maintain financial viability and enhance the ability to raise capital from the market for infrastructure projects;
  • Enable water boards to better support Water Services Authorities;
  • Ensure transformation and improved governance; and
  • Reconfiguration must not result in job losses.

Mchunu said that the dialogue with WSA is the first step toward forming a single water body in the province, and that it would be followed by the appointment of an independent Transactional Advisor to supervise the reconfiguration, among other procedures.

Since assuming the portfolio of water and sanitation a year ago, Mchunu has been keen on transforming the water and sanitation sector and removing any obstacles that impede the supply of services to the people.

To this aim, the Minister has intersected the nation mobilising water and sanitation stakeholders to collaborate with all hands on deck to achieve efficiency, resulting in communities having access to essential services.