Changes had to be made in South Africa’s water and sanitation sector….

Changes had to be made in South Africa’s water and sanitation sector to ensure challenges were resolved effectively, as well as to fast track the country’s socioeconomic transformation, Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane told delegates at the 2014 Water and Sanitation Summit, in Boksburg.

She noted that it was important that proper planning was undertaken that would enable all citizens to benefit from quality service delivery.

The Minister further stressed that it was important for the private sector to invest in water infrastructure to ensure socioeconomic transformation and the deracialisation of communities.

Mokonyane added that communities also needed to increase their participation in the sector. “Our people can not only be beneficiaries but must be part of the [process of] finding solutions,” she said.

She also believed that the effective use of water research information, the application of new technologies and embracing innovation, could contribute to “radical” socioeconomic transformation.

Further, Mokonyane emphasised the importance of ensuring harmony between institutions and all spheres of government to eliminate overlaps in planning that often led to inefficiencies.

Also speaking at the summit, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Pravin Gordhan reiterated the need for cooperation between different government departments.

He said that, in terms of service delivery, it was important for departments to work together to ensure they responded to crises quicker.

“In the next two or three months, we will find a path towards a more integrated way of working, a more collaborative way of working,” he commented.

Meanwhile, Gordhan pointed out that the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs wanted municipalities to draw up ten-year infrastructure plans to provide the municipality and investors with certainty.

“The way in which government grants operate will also take into account the ten-year infrastructure plans per region,” he said.

Further, Gordhan noted that the implementation capabilities of municipalities had to be reviewed.

He stressed that South Africa’s challenge was not finding the money to implement the necessary infrastructure programmes, but rather ensuring that the money was well spent.

“If we don’t have effective implementation capability, we are going to waste money. For now, and the foreseeable [future], there is enough money in the system if we use it wisely,” he stated.

Adaptation from the Engineering News