Mahlobo calls for professionalism in water sector

Water and Sanitation Deputy Minister David Mahlobo has called for a culture of work, service and professionalism within the public sector and key stakeholders.

Mahlobo made the remarks during the Emfuleni Section 63 Support Stakeholder Meeting held at Vereeniging, Gauteng, on Friday.

The meeting, which was attended by Emfuleni Local Municipality Mayor Sipho Radebe and stakeholders from various structures representing business and civil society within the Sedibeng District Municipality, aimed to provide an update on the progress made on the Emfuleni Section 63 Interventions, and the planned work leading up to the commissioning of pump station 5, which has a capacity of 150 mega litres a day.

In 2021, Minister Senzo Mchunu invoked and placed Emfuleni Local Municipality under Section 63 of the Water Services Act and took over water and sanitation services following the municipality’s failure to manage its water and sanitation services, which resulted in sewer spillages in communities and into the Vaal River, polluting the raw water source.

The objective of the Section 63 interventions is to address sewerage spillage in the Sedibeng District's Emfuleni and Midvaal, as a result of lack of maintenance and aging infrastructure, and demand that is higher than waste water treatment capacity.

Rand Water was appointed as an implementing agent to deliver an effective solution that will eradicate pollution in the river and its tributaries, and address water and sanitation service delivery challenges, inhibiting both social and economic development in the region.

Mahlobo was appointed by Mchunu to chair the Political Stakeholder Committee of the project in the region to keep all stakeholders abreast of the progress in the implementation of the intervention.

Mahlobo noted the overwhelming progress on the work that has been done to address spillages, and urged the department and other water sector stakeholders to improve their work ethic, service delivery, and professionalism, stressing the significance of regular information sharing to demonstrate the progress being made, and to foster patience among the public.

He said this approach will ensure that stakeholders are well-informed about the ongoing developments, and can collaboratively address any challenges that arise.

The Deputy Minister also emphasised the importance of transparency in water management.

“The sharing of information plays a crucial role in informing the public about the measures implemented to enhance the provision of adequate water services. It also allows for clarification on the progress made in various water projects.

“This, in turn, helps to build trust and confidence within the public. Additionally, transparency holds all stakeholders accountable for their actions, thus enhancing good governance within the water sector,” Mahlobo said.

The Deputy Minister also highlighted a need for collaborative efforts with the private sector to succeed.

He said, it is through the collective efforts of the department, including stakeholders, and the public, that meaningful change can occur.

“By cultivating a culture of work, service, and professionalism, the water and sanitation sector can address existing challenges and pave the way for a future marked by sustainable and equitable access to water resources,” the Deputy Minister said.

A number of stakeholders also expressed their gratitude towards progress made by the intervention, adding that it has been evident that the Emfuleni Section 63 worked extremely well and that more opportunities must be availed for women.

Significant progress in water-related projects

The Rand Water, which is responsible for supplying potable water to the Gauteng Province, highlighted significant progress in various water-related projects.

In its reports, the utility noted that the refurbishment of pump station 2 is currently at 80% completion with pump station 9, which has reached 50% completion.

The utility also highlighted that the gravity main to pump station 2 is halfway through its renovation, while pump station 10 is nearing completion at 95%.

Another progress noted was the successful completion of the collapsed sewer pipeline at Union Street in Vereeniging, which is 100% completed.

Mahlobo concluded the meeting by directing the Department of Water and Sanitation Provincial Head for Gauteng, Justice Maluleke and his team to ensure that real issues are captured and site visits take place at the specific areas and feedback given.

Source: South African Government News Agency