South Africa, Kingdom of Eswatini conclude Komati Treaty review consultations on joint water resources

PRETORIA, The South African government and the Eswatini government has concluded public consultations to review a treaty between the two countries on the development and utilisation of the water resources of the Komati River Basin.

The treaty is being reviewed through the Joint Water Commission (JWC) between the Republic of South Africa and the Kingdom of Eswatini in order to broaden the scope of work of the Komati Basin Water Authority (KOBWA). This will enable the authority to complement and enhance efforts towards the provision of water management related services by the two countries.

The first public consultation took place on March 2 in Malelane, Mpumalanga, and the second was held in the Kingdom of Eswatini on March 9.

KOBWA is an international organisation formed by South Africa and Eswatini to manage operations and maintenance of the Driekoppies Dam (in SA) and Maguga Dam (in Eswatini).

The organisation has been responsible for designing, constructing, operating and maintaining the Maguga and Driekoppies Dams, as well as associated infrastructure, which was constructed mainly to provide assurance of water supply for irrigation purposes in both member States.

Addressing delegates and stakeholders during public consultations, South Africa’s Department of Water and Sanitation’s Chief Director for International Water and Sanitation Corporation, Duduzile Mthembu, called for concerted collaborations to foster transboundary relations.

“The Komati River Basin Treaty was signed in 1992, with a focus on design, construction, operation and maintenance of the Maguga Dam, in Eswatini and the Driekoppies Dam in Schoemansdal, South Africa.

“It is through the treaty that we have seen the successful completion of the construction of the two dams. We now have to consider other avenues to look into broadening the scope of the treaty and thus ensure water security in both countries,” Mthembu said.

Echoing Mthembu’s sentiments, KOBWA Chief Executive Officer, Trevor Shongwe, affirmed that the effects of climate change – which often result in drought and severe flooding – require innovative thinking and adaptation measures.

“We have seen how floods have wrecked people’s livelihoods and the damage caused to the environment. The review of this treaty should enable all of us to proactively curb or prevent the dire effects of climate change,” Shongwe said.

Stakeholders who attended the public consultations in the two countries included small-scale farmers, irrigation boards, and catchment agencies, amongst others.

The treaty under review can be found on the KOBWA website and inputs can be sent through email on until March 31.

Source: Nam News Network