DBSA’s Johann Lubbe to lead the newly established Water Partnership Office

21st August 2023

By: Natasha Odendaal

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor


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Former Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) Project Preparation Unit disruption specialist Johann Lubbe has been appointed as the head of South Africa’s first Water Partnership Office (WPO), effective August 1.

Established by the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) as a ringfenced national water and sanitation implementing office, the WPO, with the DBSA as the mandated implementing partner, aims to accelerate water and sanitation infrastructure delivery across South Africa in line with the National Water Programme (NWP).

“This pivotal decision underscores the department's unwavering dedication to addressing one of the world's most pressing challenges: ensuring access to clean and safe water for all,” says DWS director-general Dr Sean Phillips.

The WPO appointed Lubbe as an experienced professional with extensive and in-depth knowledge in the conceptualisation, design, structuring and fund-raising execution of the country’s first NWP, which was approved by Cabinet to create innovative avenues for accelerated private sector participation in water and sanitation programmes.

Lubbe, holding a Civil Engineering degree from the University of Pretoria, a BCom (Law) degree from the University of South Africa and a master’s degree in development finance Cum laude from the University of Stellenbosch Business School, has over 20 years’ experience in civil engineering, banking and innovation and has assisted multiple international platforms to mobilise international and local support for resources to address South Africa’s water crisis.

His immediate focus will be to coordinate and align a government-wide response to South Africa’s water crisis, initially at a municipal level.

“We are very pleased with Johann’s appointment and are confident that the transformation we seek in water safety and security as an enabler of economic development will be realised,” says DBSA Project Preparation Unit group executive Catherine Koffman, who adds that the programme, which was conceived and developed meticulously at the DBSA over several years, is testament to the skills and knowledge base at DBSA which sustains its institutional strength as a leading development finance institution and market maker.

“The water crisis is dire, and we are committed to supporting Johann as he leads and collaborates with private, public and civil society to transform and scale security of the country’s water services capacity,” she concluded.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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