Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu has consulted with the KwaZulu-Natal Water Service Authority (WSA) on the reconfiguration of two water boards, Umgeni and Mhlathuze Water, in the aim of establishing a single water board.
Various KwaZulu-Natal mayors, who echoed each other’s sentiments in favor of the proposal, attended the consultation, which was held at the Olive Convention Center in Durban on Monday.
The mayors added that this decision would transform the water sector and ensure efficient delivery of water services.
Outlining the move towards the reconfiguration of the two water boards, Mchunu said the main objective is to ensure adequate capacity in the water sector, with qualified and quality engineers.
Mchunu pointed out that a single water entity would be able to support the under-capacity water utility authorities to meet the growing water demands in the province.
“The single water board we envision must have the capacity to be financially self-supporting, where it can raise funds to render its services on its own.
“The reality is that the expenses to implement projects are too high, [and] the demand for services is also too high, however, the delivery by government institutions is too low, and we need to address this issue urgently,” Mchunu said.
He added that the reconfiguration of the water boards is the result of the National Summit on Water and Sanitation, held earlier this year, and “it is part of the resolutions and we are implementing them”.
The minister also pointed out that the review of the two water boards is aimed at ensuring financial viability, including service areas that are not currently served and the institutional confusion caused by multiple water boards serving the same province. .
“A single water board in KwaZulu-Natal is expected to address the challenges of transformation in the province, increase access to water in unserved rural areas, improve the market capitalization of infrastructure projects and reduce the skewed water supply, among others,” Mchunu said.
The reconfiguration of the Umgeni and Umhlathuze Water Boards aims to:
Strengthen the capacity and capacity of the entity in the provinces (based on existing technical skills);
Improve and strengthen institutional efficiency and rationalize the number of institutions in the water sector to ensure economies of scale;
Maintain financial viability and improve the ability to raise market capital for infrastructure projects;
Enable water boards to better support water service authorities;
Ensure the transformation and improvement of governance; and
The reconfiguration should not result in job cuts.
Mchunu said the consultation with WSA is the first step towards the creation of a single water entity in the province and will be followed by the appointment of an independent transactional adviser to manage the reconfiguration project, between other processes to follow.
In taking over the water and sanitation portfolio a year ago, Mchunu was seized of his intention to transform the water and sanitation sector and unlock all the challenges that hinder the provision of services to the people.
To this end, the Minister has criss-crossed the country mobilizing water and sanitation stakeholders to work together with all to ensure efficiency that will result in communities’ access to basic services. .
(With contributions from the South African government press release)