South Africa’s water boards are set to be reviewed in an effort to enhance service delivery, starting with the Sedibeng Water Board, which the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) said it has bailed out on two occasions in the recent past.
Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu said that the decision to look at the functionality of the water boards is also to ensure a continued and close partnership with municipalities as water service authorities and to have water boards playing a central role with regards to municipalities delivering services.
“We will urgently review the boards. It is all about our calculations and looking for an effective turnaround with regards to our main challenge, that of delivering water to households,” he said.
He noted that, although South Africa is a water-scarce country, the biggest challenge facing the sector is to deliver water to households and the DWS is taking steps to mitigate this challenge.
“Municipalities complained that they do not have capacity to deliver water and sanitation services, but they want to.”
The DWS is also reviewing its own legislation in terms of empowering the department and intervening “down to the ground” to make sure that water gets delivered.
Mchunu also noted that the balance of equity between water and sanitation was not reached.
“All along we have not been focusing equally on sanitation as we have been doing in water and now sanitation needs to be upgraded in terms of our attention. The main thing is to bring water to households and then in the process you are able to deal with matters of sanitation,” he added, noting that the DWS is currently working on a sanitation framework for South Africa.
“At the moment anything in the form of sanitation is apparently doable. We do not commonly have adopted norms and standards that everybody must adhere to and that will be the content of the sanitation framework.”