Calls for transformation in water sector

Water and Sanitation Minister Gugile Nkwinti has reiterated government’s commitment for collaborative efforts to lead transformation of the water sector, as the department prepares to launch the Phakisa Process for Water and Sanitation Master Plan.

Phakisa Process seeks to address sector challenges and ensure that as per the ideals of the National Development Plan (NDP), the Master Plan will assist the department to achieve the desired outcomes.

Minister Nkwinti was speaking at a recent Ministerial Interactive Session on the Transformation of the Water Sector, held at Boksburg in Johannesburg.

The interactive session, which was attended by more than 300 sector leaders aimed at tackling the current transformation challenges in the sector, and how to overcome obstacles that have impeded transformation to date.

Nkwinti said his role during the session was to actively interact, listen and share ideas on how to move the sector forward.

“As a department, we are here to facilitate this collaborative transformation process and we can only be successful if we work together. The session is also meant to find input towards the Phakisa Process of the National Water and Sanitation Master Plan, and hear of experiences of the sector on services received,” said Nkwinti. 

Nkwinti acknowledged that even though he had received numerous requests from different sector players to meet, he has never met the water users before.

“I chose not to meet the individuals but rather to meet the collective. I really appreciate that all of us were able to attend and actually be very active in the session. All of the inputs are accepted and appreciated.

“What I want to emphasise is that, for me it is important that the law must be implemented and implemented immediately. This will form an integral part of the way forward towards the desired transformation that we all aspire for,” the Minister said.

Department’s Deputy Director-General responsible for Strategic and Emergency Projects, Trevor Balzer, gave an overview of the National Water and Sanitation Master Plan, focusing on how it can assist in addressing sector challenges, as well as the implementation of Phakisa Process.

Balzer said the Phakisa for Water and Sanitation is a game-changer for the department and the sector as a whole.

“The Phakisa on Water and Sanitation will see sector partners agree on concrete actions, budgets and timeframes necessary to implement the Master Plan, and ensure a water-secure future for the country, while also addressing the triple challenges confronting the country, namely, poverty, unemployment and inequality,” Balzer said.

He added that it is the department’s intention to mobilise the sector to undertake the implementation of Phakisa by March 2019.

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) Deputy Minister Andries Nel who was in attendance applauded Nkwinti for initiating and leading the session with the sector, and including COGTA as an interested party.

Nel said this was the right step to foster relations and build trust with sector leaders.

“Maintaining infrastructure is critical, as well as the attraction of private sector investment in the water and local government sectors. The President, in delivering the State of the Nation Address (SONA) reminded all of us of the interlocking and complex nature of this sector. We have also, as COGTA become aware of the need to refine the delivery models of basic services and water in particular,” the Deputy Minister said.

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