Minister Mokonyane initiates process towards the establishment of a single provincial water board in Kwazulu-Natal
The Minister of Water and Sanitation, Nomvula Mokonyane, has met with the Boards of the Umngeni and Umhlathuze Water Boards. The meeting was to brief the respective boards of the Minister’s intention to spearhead a process aimed at amalgamating the two entities to create a single Water Board for the province of KwaZulu-Natal.
The institutional reform intended is necessitated by a number of factors key amongst which is the need to optimize efficiency in the delivery of services, to extend the mandate of the entities to cover the entire province and to intensify delivery of water to communities and to guarantee the delivery of quality water to residents of KwaZulu-Natal.
“The diagnostic report of the National Development Plan (NDP) identified a number of challenges in the current institutional arrangements within the state and for us to deliver on the NDP, the structural changes we are introducing will ensure that we have a coherent, responsive and forward looking entity whose purpose will be to ensure that we realize our targets as government to provide clean water, sustainably so, to our people” said Minister Mokonyane.
In the meeting held, the Minister briefed the Boards that it was her intention to have the new single entity operational in the course of the 2016/17 financial year and that the department will be proceeding with all the required processes to disestablish the current boards and to conduct all the required due-diligence processes and consultations, with labour in particular, to ensure the transition was as smooth and issue free as possible.
“We have engaged with both Water Boards and the response has been favourable. We have also briefed the provincial government and the next step is to engage with labour. It is my intention to lead these engagements in order to assure employees of both water boards on job security and future opportunities presented by this process” said Minister Mokonyane.
The move to amalgamate the two water boards is not isolated from other initiatives that government is engaged in to ensure the sustainability of water supply to the province. Recently, the Minister in her recent visit to the Kingdom of Lesotho pronounced on government’s intention to expand the supply area of the second phase of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project to include Kwazulu-Natal and the Free State. This is evidence of the concerted efforts of government to ensure that we realize the vision of the NDP and ensure sustainability of water supply for the benefit of citizens and the economy.
In line with the discussions held and the processes underway, the Minister will on a regular basis update stakeholders and the public on the process and its execution to ensure transparency and accountability.
The meeting appreciated the importance of adequate water supply and decent sanitation for economic growth and the need for alignment of institutions in order to ensure impact in delivery to communities.