Service Magazine Issue 82

Service magazine addresses key issues related to government leadership and service delivery in South Africa.

Service magazine addresses key issues related to government leadership and service delivery in South Africa.


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ISSUE <strong>82</strong><br />

MARCH/APRIL/MAY 2023<br />

L E A D E R S H I P I N G O V E R N M E N T<br />









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0<strong>82</strong> 1960

contents<br />

S<br />

IN THIS ISSUE | SERVICE <strong>82</strong> | MARCH/APRIL/MAY 2023<br />


News and updates<br />


The country is in the grip of a profound<br />

energy crisis<br />



Exciting new smart poles for the Saldanha<br />

Bay Municipality<br />

4<br />


PASA regulates oil and gas exploration for<br />

SA’s economic wellbeing<br />

6<br />


<strong>Service</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong> interviews the founder of<br />

Uhuru Development Projects<br />

9<br />



SA’s water networks are severely affected<br />

by loadshedding<br />

10<br />



SA’s energy shortage is having a profound<br />

impact on its cities<br />

12<br />


Water is SA’s next “perfect storm”<br />

14<br />


Who does what with SA’s water<br />

17<br />


Rand Water says that it must be changed<br />

18<br />



The situation is reaching a crisis point<br />

20<br />


Rand Water gives advice on what<br />

municipalities can do to promote efficient<br />

water delivery<br />

22<br />



How a country manages its waste is a<br />

fundamental indicator of its society<br />

24 26<br />



Economic growth and skills development<br />

can be achieved through learnerships<br />


Needs a new kind of leader<br />

28<br />

30 32<br />

<strong>Service</strong> magazine | 1

S<br />

editor’s note<br />

Resilience in service<br />

R<br />

Resiliency is the capacity to recover from failures, disasters,<br />

crises or fiascos and still have the ability to function effectively.<br />

Resilience can also be described as a community’s capacity to<br />

deal with an out-of-the-ordinary occurrence and be able to resist<br />

it, acclimatise through it and then to recover effectually and to<br />

ultimately learn from the disruption.<br />

Covid-19 taught us how to cope in the face of immense<br />

adversity, and the new normal brought with it communities, cities<br />

and organisations that are building their resilience to cope with<br />

an uncertain future. The ability of a service delivery structure,<br />

such as government, to react, adjust and fortify in the face of<br />

conflict is crucial.<br />

“We cannot undo the mistakes that were made in the past,”<br />

President Ramaphosa proclaimed in his 2023 State of the Nation<br />

Address. “What we can do is fix the problem today to keep the lights<br />

on tomorrow and for generations to come.” The problem today is<br />

that we are in the grip of a profound energy crisis, the seeds of<br />

which were planted many years ago.<br />

Ramaphosa then announced that government had classified the<br />

crisis and its impact as a disaster and declared a National State of<br />

Disaster. “It will enable us to accelerate energy projects and limit<br />

regulatory requirements,” he said. Read more about the reforms,<br />

rollouts and rebates that government has taken to mitigate the<br />

disaster on page 6.<br />

South Africa’s energy shortage is having a profound impact on<br />

its cities at a time when they urgently need to recover from the<br />

Covid-19 crisis. South African municipalities have a constitutional<br />

mandate to distribute electricity to citizens (page 17).<br />

Craig Kesson, PwC South Africa, says: “Resolving the energy<br />

shortfall requires a collective effort across private and public<br />

sectors, including, and especially, by municipalities who play a<br />

key role in the development of sustainable energy strategies.<br />

By playing a key role in resolving the energy supply gap,<br />

municipalities will be able to contribute to local economic<br />

development and job creation.”<br />

Municipalities also bear the biggest responsibility for clean<br />

water provision in the country, but do not have the ability to<br />

fix the system. Each year, budgets to safeguard water supplies<br />

go unspent.<br />

Efforts to fix South Africa’s water system have been hampered by<br />

weak local capacity and deep degeneracy (page 14).<br />

After more than a decade of neglect, mismanagement and<br />

corruption, the country’s water infrastructure can no longer supply<br />

many communities with reliable access to safe drinking water. In the<br />

Department of Water and Sanitation’s latest drinking water report,<br />

more than 60% of water supply systems did not meet water quality<br />

standards (page 20).<br />

And Eskom’s decline is deepening the problem.<br />

“In places like Johannesburg, you have the water supplies;<br />

however, you are experiencing shortages because of dilapidated<br />

infrastructure,” explains water expert Dr Anja du Plessis. “[That]<br />

infrastructure is now collapsing under loadshedding.”<br />

The ability of a service delivery structure, such as government, to<br />

react, adjust and fortify in the face of conflict is crucial. We need to<br />

be resilient, to serve and to fix the problem today to keep the lights<br />

on for tomorrow and for generations to come.<br />

Enjoy this issue!<br />

Alexis Knipe<br />

Editor<br />

Editor: Alexis Knipe | Publishing director: Chris Whales | Managing director: Clive During | Online editor: Christoff Scholtz<br />

Design: Brent Meder & Salmah Brown<br />

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Administration & accounts: Charlene Steynberg, Kathy Wootton | Distribution & circulation manager: Edward MacDonald | Printing: FA Print<br />

<strong>Service</strong> magazine is published by Global Africa Network Media (Pty) Ltd | Company Registration No: 2004/0049<strong>82</strong>/07<br />

Directors: Clive During, Chris Whales | Physical address: 28 Main Road, Rondebosch 7700<br />

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<strong>Service</strong> magazine, nor the publisher, none of whom accept liability of any nature arising out of, or in connection with, the contents of this book. The<br />

publishers would like to express thanks to those who Support this publication by their submission of articles and with their advertising.<br />

All rights reserved.<br />

Member of the Audit Bureau<br />

of Circulations<br />

2 | <strong>Service</strong> magazine

technology<br />

S<br />

Supporting the financial<br />

services sector with SD-WAN<br />

The banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) industry is increasingly taking a digital approach,<br />

moving infrastructure and applications to the cloud and introducing technologies, such as artificial<br />

intelligence, Internet of Things and machine learning. This digitisation has been accelerated by the<br />

adoption of hybrid working, while meeting the demand for a better customer experience.<br />

In addition, the BFSI industry continues<br />

to be a target for cyber-attackers and<br />

is subject to stringent regulatory and<br />

compliance requirements. These are over and<br />

above the pressure for companies to optimise<br />

costs and efficiencies.<br />

“Leveraging Software Defined Wide Area<br />

Network (SD-WAN) can help BFSI organisations<br />

overcome these challenges now and into<br />

the future. SD-WAN offers the opportunity to<br />

manage the network more effectively, support<br />

a hybrid working model, enhance cybersecurity<br />

and increase agility, to take advantage of digital<br />

transformation,” says Kevin Odudoh, executive<br />

head of the BFSI sector at Vodacom Business.<br />


A key advantage of SD-WAN is improved<br />

network performance. SD-WAN provides<br />

greater bandwidth and reduces congestion<br />

across multiple connection points on any<br />

available underlay connectivity service. The<br />

technology uses multiple paths for data<br />

traffic, selecting the best route while ensuring<br />

reliability in the event of a connection failure.<br />

Furthermore, this offers faster and stable<br />

application performance, critical in delivering<br />

superior customer experience.<br />

SD-WAN also offers flexibility, allowing users<br />

to connect to multiple technologies, applications<br />

and services, conveniently and remotely. For<br />

example, a bank call centre employee can work<br />

from home and access the network simply<br />

through a supplied SD-WAN router or device that<br />

is connected to any internet service, whether<br />

that’s fixed or wireless.<br />

“The network is managed centrally,<br />

reducing the time and resources necessary<br />

to manage the network, update security<br />

and enable compliance, which is a benefit<br />

for BFSI organisations that have sites locally<br />

and globally, as well as remote employees.<br />

This together with SD-WAN’s use of less<br />

expensive Internet connections rather than<br />

dedicated connections such as MPLS, saves<br />

costs in maintaining a wide area network,”<br />

adds Odudoh.<br />

In addition, SD-WAN can use Virtual Private<br />

Network (VPN) connections to encrypt<br />

data traffic, which increases security when<br />

transmitting sensitive information such as<br />

financial transactions. SD-WAN also combines<br />

managed security services, such as firewalls,<br />

ensuring a secure infrastructure and highquality<br />

performance.<br />



Vodacom Business was the first<br />

telecommunications operator in Africa to<br />

achieve the prestigious MEF3.0 SD-WAN<br />

certification in 2020. This certification enables<br />

providers to confirm that their solutions<br />

comply with the highest industry standards for<br />

performance, assurance and agility.<br />

With the expertise to meet the BFSI sector’s<br />

evolving needs, Vodacom Business provides<br />

on-demand support throughout the transition<br />

to SD-WAN and afterwards. Clients are also<br />

able to access Vodacom’s free LTE back-up<br />

solution, suitable for sites with less bandwidth,<br />

such as outlying branches and ATMs, and<br />

benefit from end-to-end security using Secure<br />

Access <strong>Service</strong> Edge.<br />

“Based on our learnings and that of our<br />

multi-vendor partners over the past three<br />

years, Vodacom Business offers leading<br />

SD-WAN technology that is flexible, reliable,<br />

cost-effective and secure. In using our own<br />

extensive infrastructure, our trusted partner<br />

base and our support services, BFSI clients can<br />

feel assured that Vodacom’s SD-WAN enables<br />

them to reap the benefits of digitisation in<br />

the long run,” concludes Ermano Quartero,<br />

executive head of Fixed Line Centre of<br />

Excellence at Vodacom Business. S<br />

Ermano Quartero, Executive Head<br />

of Fixed Line Centre of Excellence,<br />

Vodacom Business.<br />

Kevin Odudoh, Executive Head, BFSI<br />

Sector, Vodacom Business.<br />

<strong>Service</strong> magazine | 3

S<br />

snippets<br />



National Treasury has released the local government revenue and<br />

expenditure report for the second quarter of the 2022/23 financial year.<br />

The report is part of the In-year Management, Monitoring and Reporting<br />

System for Local Government, which enables provincial and national<br />

government to exercise oversight over municipalities and identify<br />

possible challenges in implementing municipal budgets.<br />


Municipalities spent 42.3% (R235.9-billion) of the total adopted<br />

expenditure budget of R557.8-billion as of 31 December 2022. In<br />

respect of revenue, aggregate billing and other revenue amounted<br />

to 48.5% (R270.3-billion) of the total adopted revenue budget.<br />

Of the adopted operating expenditure budget amounting to R488.2-<br />

billion, 44.2% (R215.8 billion) was spent by 31 December 2022.<br />

Municipalities have adopted the budget for salaries and wages<br />

expenditure at R146.6-billion (including remuneration of councillors),<br />

which is R8.6-billion more than the adopted budget of R138-billion<br />

reported in the second quarter of the 2021/22 municipal financial year.<br />

This constitutes 30% of their total operational expenditure<br />

budget of R488.2-billion. As of 31 December 2022,<br />

spending on salaries and wages is 46.2% (R67.8-billion).<br />

Capital expenditure for all municipalities amounted to 28.8%<br />

(R20.1-billion) of the adopted capital budget of R69.8-billion.<br />

Aggregated year-to-date operating expenditure for metros amounts to<br />

46% (R134.3-billion) of their adopted budget expenditure of R292.1-<br />

billion. The aggregated adopted capital budget for metros in the<br />

2022/23 financial year is R32-billion, of which 26.8% (R8.6-billion)<br />

was spent by 31 December 2022.<br />

As of 31 December 2022, aggregated revenue for secondary cities is<br />

44.1% (R35.2-billion) of their total adopted revenue budget of R71.4-<br />

billion for the 2022/23 financial year. The year-to-date aggregated<br />

operating expenditure level of the secondary cities is 42.6% or R30.2-<br />

billion of the total adopted operating budget of R70.9-billion for the<br />

2022/23 financial year. Capital spending levels for secondary cities<br />

reported an average of 29.2% (R2.5-billion) of the adopted capital<br />

budget of R8.5-billion.<br />

Aggregate municipal consumer debts amounted to R305.8-billion as<br />

of 31 December 2022.<br />

Government debt accounts for 7.5% (R22.9-billion) of the total<br />

outstanding debtors. The largest component of this debt relates to<br />

households which account for 71.1% (R217.7-billion)<br />

Metropolitan municipalities are owed R154-billion in outstanding<br />

debt as of 31 December 2022. The largest contributors were the City<br />

of Johannesburg (28.8%), Ekurhuleni (19.9%), eThekwini (14.5%),<br />

Tshwane (11.8%) and Nelson Mandela Bay (9.8%).<br />

Municipalities owed their creditors R86-billion as of 31 December<br />

2022 and provinces with the highest percentage of outstanding<br />

municipal creditors in the category greater than 90 days include<br />

Northern Cape (90.4%), Mpumalanga (90.2%) and North West<br />

(83.7%). The total balance on borrowing for all municipalities equates<br />

to R59.1-billion as of 31 December 2022. This includes long-term loans<br />

of R44.3-billion, long-term marketable bonds of R8.4-billion, and other<br />

long-term non-marketable bonds of R5.1-billion. The balance represents other shortand<br />

long-term financing instruments.<br />

As of 31 December 2022, the total investments made by municipalities<br />

equate to R43.1-billion.<br />


The 2022/23 municipal performance for the second quarter publication on<br />

conditional grants shows an improvement from the previous quarter, but at a<br />

slower rate year-on-year, with a considerable performance increase of 64.9%.<br />

Municipalities spent 31.9% of their total allocation in the second quarter of<br />

2022/23.<br />

As of 31 December 2022, 55.3% (R22.5-billion) of the R40.6-billion allocated<br />

to municipalities in direct conditional grants for 2022/23 had been transferred<br />

to municipalities.<br />

The metro municipalities have a total allocation of R11.2-billion in<br />

direct transfers of which 45.6% (R5.4-billion) was transferred. As at the<br />

end of December, 56.1% (R3-billion) of the total R5.4 billion transferred to<br />

metropolitan municipalities, had been spent<br />

The second quarter shows a slight improvement over the performance<br />

reported during the first quarter of the current financial year, however the<br />

improved expenditure is at a declining rate compared to the previous financial<br />

year. This is a clear indication that municipalities’ project implementation<br />

planning is deficient, and it is one area that needs improvement.<br />

4 | <strong>Service</strong> magazine

snippets<br />

S<br />


At Premier Alan Winde’s fourth Energy Digicon, the executive<br />

mayor of Cape Town Geordin Hill-Lewis outlined how the City of<br />

Cape Town (CoCT) is tackling the energy crisis:<br />

Renewable power without battery storage – this would help<br />

ensure sufficient power supply.<br />

The CoCT will make public a tender for 500MW of<br />

dispatchable power. Small-scale embedded generation<br />

– allowing people to be net generators of energy at their<br />

homes or businesses. Excess power can be sold back to<br />

the municipality; businesses can currently do this, and<br />

households will be able to by the end of 2023.<br />

The Power Heroes initiative – where residents are rewarded<br />

for reducing their power use.<br />

“The measures the CoCT is implementing are very encouraging.<br />

Cape Town’s population is growing at a rapid rate and it is<br />

important that the mayor and his team do everything they can to<br />

boost power production, protecting households and businesses<br />

from severe blackouts.<br />

This includes embracing innovation. I urge all our municipalities<br />

to put the needs of our citizens first amid this crisis and to<br />

continuously work on their energy plans,” Premier Winde said.<br />



The launch of the Cybercrimes Act is<br />

a very telling indicator of the fervour<br />

with which global threat actors are<br />

eyeing South Africa as a target for<br />

online exploitation. The act seeks<br />

to expand jurisdiction for law enforcement to regulate cybercrime,<br />

allowing government to enter into agreements with foreign states and<br />

be better able to detect, prevent and mitigate potential attacks.<br />

Already, major private and public sector institutions are being breached<br />

more frequently over time.<br />

While a legislative framework is a positive step, ensuring the security of<br />

our state resources and vast amounts of data on each citizen requires<br />

the appropriate online tools.<br />

The challenge for the State is the limited available high-level cyber<br />

security skills as well as the mounting cost of technology, mainly the<br />

traditional anti-malware software.<br />

The development of extended detection and response (XDR) platforms<br />

has now changed how entities will manage their security, allowing them<br />

to better protect their data in a managed centrally system powered by AI,<br />

that grows and adapts alongside organisations, in real time.<br />

As it collects data from previously separate tools, XDR allows for<br />

easier and faster investigation of threats and breaches, as well as<br />

advising on the best response based on previous results across a<br />

much wider network.<br />

Training staff members can go a long way in securing the<br />

environment. This, together with the support of XDR systems that<br />

instantly analyse data from across the organisation to predict and<br />

prevent emerging threats, identify root causes and respond in real<br />

time, is the path of action we need to take in the South African public<br />

sector to protect our industries and economy.<br />

By Carlo Bolzonello, Trellix SA country lead<br />


MEC for Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs, Nono Maloyi has urged municipalities to spend their infrastructure<br />

grants allocation to curb poor service delivery which is mainly due to poorly maintained infrastructure.<br />

Malolyi said most of the recent service delivery protests are because of lack of provision of basic services by municipalities and that the grants<br />

are meant to eradicate municipal infrastructure backlogs and ensure the provision of basic services.<br />

He said while municipalities are failing to pay Eskom and water utilities, they are also owed large amounts of money by some departments. He added<br />

that the department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and Provincial Treasury will work on a strategy to assist municipalities to<br />

recoup monies owed to them by other departments.<br />

“Municipalities must consider investing in pre-paid meters where possible. Consumers will have no option but to pay for what they use. In<br />

that way, municipalities will be able to generate revenue and meet their financial obligations.”<br />

<strong>Service</strong> magazine | 5

S<br />

energy<br />

South Africa’s energy crisis<br />

Government’s most immediate priority is to restore energy security. The country is in<br />

the grip of a profound energy crisis, the seeds of which were planted many years ago.<br />

I<br />

In July 2022, President Ramaphosa announced a clear action plan to<br />

address the energy crisis. This was to address the electricity shortfall<br />

of 4 000 to 6 000 megawatts (MW). The plan outlined five key<br />

interventions to:<br />

• Fix Eskom’s coal-fired power stations and improve the availability<br />

of existing supply.<br />

• Enable and accelerate private investment in generation capacity.<br />

• Accelerate procurement of new capacity from renewables, gas<br />

and battery storage.<br />

• Unleash businesses and households to invest in rooftop solar.<br />

• Fundamentally transform the electricity sector to achieve longterm<br />

energy security.<br />


Government has taken steps to improve the performance of Eskom’s<br />

existing power stations so that the coal-fired power stations that<br />

provide 80% of electricity produce the amount of electricity for<br />

which they were designed. Under its new board, Eskom is deploying<br />

people and resources to improve the reliability of the six power<br />

stations that have contributed the most to loadshedding.<br />

Eskom is urgently fast-tracking construction of a temporary<br />

solution to bring back three units at Kusile Power Station following<br />

the collapse of a chimney stack last year, while simultaneously<br />

repairing the permanent structure.<br />

Experts agree that this plan is the most realistic route to end<br />

loadshedding. Since then, government has made important progress<br />

in implementing the plan.<br />

“We have deep skills and expertise right here in South Africa –<br />

we just need to use them.”<br />

President Cyril Ramaphosa, SoNA, 9 February 2023.<br />

Government is rebuilding the skills that have been lost and<br />

have already recruited skilled personnel at senior levels to be<br />

deployed at underperforming power stations. The Engineering<br />

Council of South Africa has offered to give as much assistance as<br />

required by deploying engineers to work with the management<br />

teams at power stations.<br />

National Treasury is finalising a solution to Eskom’s R400-billion<br />

debt burden in a manner that is equitable and fair to all stakeholders,<br />

which will enable the utility to make necessary investments in<br />

maintenance and transmission. Government will support Eskom<br />

to secure additional funding to purchase diesel for the rest of the<br />

financial year. This should reduce the severity of loadshedding as<br />

Eskom will be able to use its diesel-run plants when the system is<br />

under strain.<br />

Eskom has launched a programme to buy excess power<br />

from private generators and has already secured 300MW from<br />

neighbouring countries.<br />

“We cannot undo the mistakes that were made in the past,<br />

the capacity that was not built, the damage that was done to<br />

our power plants due to a lack of maintenance, or the effects<br />

of state capture on our institutions. What we can do is fix<br />

the problem today to keep the lights on tomorrow and for<br />

generations to come.”<br />

President Cyril Ramaphosa, State of the Nation Address<br />

(SoNA), 9 February 2023, Cape Town City Hall.<br />


The South African Police <strong>Service</strong> (SAPS) has established<br />

a dedicated team with senior leadership to deal with the<br />

pervasive corruption and theft at several power stations that<br />

has contributed to the poor performance of these stations.<br />

Intelligence-driven operations at Eskom-related sites have so<br />

far resulted in 43 arrests.<br />


As part of the broader reform process, the restructuring of Eskom<br />

that government previously announced is proceeding and the<br />

National Transmission Company will soon be operational with an<br />

independent board.<br />

6 | <strong>Service</strong> magazine

energy<br />

S<br />

Later this year, government will table the Electricity Regulation<br />

Amendment Bill to transform the energy sector and establish a<br />

competitive electricity market.<br />


As indicated in July last year, and with a view to addressing the<br />

loadshedding crisis, government is going to proceed with the<br />

rollout of rooftop solar panels. In his Budget Speech [upcoming<br />

at time of press], the Minister of Finance will outline how<br />

households will be assisted and how businesses will be able to<br />

benefit from a tax incentive.<br />

National Treasury is working on adjustments to the Bounce-back<br />

Loan Scheme to help small businesses invest in solar equipment,<br />

and to allow banks and development finance institutions to borrow<br />

directly from the scheme to facilitate the leasing of solar panels to<br />

their customers.<br />

One of the potent reforms<br />

government has embarked upon<br />

is to allow private developers to<br />

generate electricity.<br />


One of the potent reforms government has embarked upon is to<br />

allow private developers to generate electricity. There are now more<br />

than 100 projects, which are expected to provide over 9 000MW of<br />

new capacity over time.<br />

A few companies that have participated in the renewable energy<br />

programme will soon enter construction and deliver a total of<br />

“In a time of crisis, we need a single point of command and a<br />

single line of march. Just as we address the cause of the crisis,<br />

we also need to address its impact. The crisis has progressively<br />

evolved to affect every part of the society. We must act to lessen<br />

the impact of the crisis on farmers, on small businesses, on our<br />

water infrastructure and our transport network.”<br />

President Cyril Ramaphosa, SoNA, 9 February 2023.<br />

2 800MW of new capacity. Eskom will procure emergency power<br />

that can be deployed within six months to close the immediate gap.<br />

Government is investing in new transmission lines and substations,<br />

especially in areas such as the Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and<br />

Western Cape. All these measures will result in a massive increase in<br />

power to the grid over the next 12 to 18 months, and beyond.<br />

This power will be in line with the diverse mix of energy sources,<br />

including the current coal-fired power stations, solar, wind, gas,<br />

nuclear, hydro and battery storage. To fully implement this plan,<br />

government needs strong central coordination and decisive action.<br />


The National Disaster Management Centre has consequently<br />

classified the energy crisis and its impact as a disaster. Government<br />

is, therefore, declaring a National State of Disaster to respond to<br />

the electricity crisis and its effects. The Minister of Cooperative<br />

Governance and Traditional Affairs has gazetted the declaration of<br />

the State of Disaster, which began with immediate effect.<br />

The State of Disaster will enable government to provide practical<br />

measures that it needs to take to support businesses in the food<br />

production, storage and retail supply chain, including for the<br />

roll-out of generators, solar panels and uninterrupted power<br />

supply. Where technically possible, it will enable government to<br />

exempt critical infrastructure such as hospitals and water treatment<br />

plants from loadshedding. It will also help government to accelerate<br />

energy projects and limit regulatory requirements while maintaining<br />

rigorous environmental protections, procurement principles and<br />

technical standards. The Auditor-General will be brought in to<br />

ensure continuous monitoring of expenditure, to guard against any<br />

abuses of the funds needed to attend to this disaster.<br />

<strong>Service</strong> magazine | 7

S<br />

energy<br />

“The process of restructuring government will give us an<br />

opportunity to determine the positioning of various areas<br />

of responsibilities and how best the various ministries and<br />

departments can best serve our national objectives. We are<br />

focusing our attention on the energy crisis right now and will<br />

address the restructuring of government in due course.”<br />

President Cyril Ramaphosa, SoNA, 9 February 2023.<br />


This is necessary because an effective response to this crisis involves<br />

several different departments and entities that require coordination<br />

from the centre of government. Government will be including<br />

other social partners in an effective structure like the one it set up<br />

to drive the vaccine rollout. Extraordinary circumstances call for<br />

extraordinary measures.<br />

The energy crisis is an existential threat to the economy and social<br />

fabric. Government must spare no effort, and it must allow no delay,<br />

in implementing these measures. As it takes these actions to resolve<br />

the energy crisis, government is mindful of the risks that climate<br />

change poses to society.<br />


Extreme weather events in the form of drought, floods and wildfires<br />

increasingly pose a risk to the health, wellbeing and safety of people.<br />

Government will continue its just transition to a low-carbon economy<br />

at a pace the country can afford and in a manner that ensures energy<br />

security. Government will undertake the just transition in a way<br />

that opens the possibility of new investments, new industrialisation<br />

and that, above all, creates new jobs. The Presidential Climate<br />

Commission is guiding much of this work, and, in doing so,<br />

building a new model for inclusive and collective decision-making,<br />

incorporating the individuals, workers and communities that are<br />

most affected in the transition.<br />


Through the Just Energy Transition Investment Plan (JET-IP),<br />

R1.5-trillion will be invested in the economy over the next five years<br />

in new frontiers such as renewable energy, green hydrogen and<br />

electric vehicles. Several projects are already underway, including<br />

the development of a new facility by Sasol at Boegoebaai in the<br />

Northern Cape, the Prieska Power Reserve in the Free State, and the<br />

Hydrogen Valley initiative in Limpopo, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.<br />

Extraordinary circumstances call<br />

for extraordinary measures.<br />

The Northern Cape has already attracted well over R100-billion in<br />

investments in renewable energy projects.<br />

These and other massive investments in renewable energy<br />

will create jobs and stimulate local economies not only in the<br />

Northern Cape, but also in the Eastern Cape, Western Cape and<br />

Mpumalanga, turning even the most arid desert into a giant<br />

energy source. Above all, the just transition will prioritise<br />

workers and communities in vulnerable industries to ensure that<br />

no one is left behind. S<br />

8 | <strong>Service</strong> magazine

technology<br />

S<br />

Smart poles launch Saldanha Bay<br />

Municipality into the digital future<br />

Fibre is about more than just connecting to the Internet, says Zoom Fibre’s managing director Mohamed Asmal, in<br />

reference to the exciting new smart poles that have been installed in various sites in the Saldanha Bay Municipality.<br />

F<br />

“Fibre is about unleashing the power of a<br />

digital future and we are doing this right<br />

now in the Saldanha Bay Municipality, and<br />

we will take these learnings and apply them<br />

to other regions where Zoom Fibre has<br />

coverage,” says Asmal.<br />

Zoom Fibre, which as part of the Baobab<br />

Project alongside its partners, the Saldanha<br />

Bay Municipality and Amoeba TSC, took on<br />

the task of managing the infrastructure –<br />

namely the fibre network – that would power<br />

the country’s first truly smart city. Zoom<br />

Fibre, whose Western Cape staff contingent<br />

is based in Vredenburg, is well-known to<br />

residents in the region having laid fibre in<br />

towns across the region.<br />

“I want you to imagine this,” says Asmal.<br />

“Imagine smart poles that run off their own<br />

renewable energy with a brain so powerful<br />

that they can adjust their brightness if there<br />

is no-one in the streets, they can proactively<br />

reduce crime and reactively lead to the<br />

capture and arrest of criminals, manage<br />

traffic volumes, provide WiFi hotspots and<br />

so much more. That is the immense power<br />

of fibre and that is why we wake up every<br />

morning at Zoom Fibre: to bring the power<br />

of fibre to the people and to drive real digital<br />

inclusion and transformation, and so as we<br />

work through this proof of concept with<br />

the first batch of towers, over time and as it<br />

becomes feasible, we will increase the scope<br />

and functionality of the smart towers and<br />

eventually unleash the full power of fibre.”<br />

Asmal says that while the current phase<br />

in Saldanha Bay Municipality (SBM) is a<br />

pilot, or a proof of concept, the idea is to<br />

roll out the smart poles across the entire<br />

municipality and eventually in other regions<br />

of the country. “We foresee smart poles<br />

wherever Zoom Fibre has a fibre network<br />

that can enable them,” he says.<br />

Beyond working towards the ability<br />

to recognise faces and people without<br />

capturing personal information, and<br />

therefore link suspects to a crime, the smart<br />

poles – such as the ones in the SBM region<br />

– would eventually have the functionality to<br />

be able to be proactive, such as raise alerts if<br />

suspicious people were seen gathering in the<br />

vicinity of a business or school, for example,<br />

and deploy security and alert the police.<br />

“The Internet of Things and smart cities,<br />

in general, are changing the face of our<br />

world, and the analytical ability of these<br />

smart poles, which is enabled by our fibre,<br />

means SBM is leading the pack in South<br />

Africa,” he says.<br />

An issue that anyone in the Saldanha Bay<br />

Municipality will be aware of, is how cellphone<br />

coverage takes a dip and sometimes<br />

disappears during loadshedding in the<br />

region. These smart towers could well form<br />

bases for Long Term Evolution (LTE)<br />

providers to deliver connectivity to their<br />

customers without the fear of power cuts<br />

as the poles themselves would be powered<br />

by solar panels and bi-directional turbines.<br />

This could radically change the experience<br />

for thousands of residents.<br />

Similarly, citizens who use Zoom Fibre<br />

through any ISP will eventually be able to<br />

log onto their own Internet package when<br />

they move from tower to tower, a bit like<br />

taking their home fibre package with them<br />

when they go out and about. Asmal says that<br />

even those without Internet packages would<br />

eventually be able to access WiFi, the details<br />

of which will be ironed out shortly. He<br />

adds that Zoom Fibre would be conducting<br />

feasibility studies around deploying the<br />

same LTE and WiFi functionality in other<br />

regions in due course.<br />

The launch of the smart poles in<br />

SBM follows the launch of a mobile app<br />

produced by Baobab Project partner<br />

Amoeba TSC and made available to<br />

municipal rates customers towards the<br />

end of last year. “We are committed to<br />

this region and will continue pioneering<br />

the power of fibre and working with<br />

our partners to turn SBM into a smart<br />

city connected to the world,” says Asmal.<br />

“Similarly, as we take the lessons learnt<br />

from SBM and its journey to becoming a<br />

true smart city, we will eventually deploy<br />

more value-added services in other regions<br />

serviced by Zoom Fibre.” S<br />

<strong>Service</strong> magazine | 9

S<br />

oil and gas<br />

Encouraging and regulating<br />

exploration and production for the<br />

economic growth of South Africa<br />

South Africa is now one of eight countries that produces helium, 16 years after Petroleum Agency South Africa<br />

granted exploration rights. If anyone should doubt the significance to the national economy or the importance<br />

to the nation as a whole of the distribution of licences in the oil and gas sector, they should pause for a moment<br />

and consider the trajectory of a project currently underway in the northern part of the Free State province.<br />

T<br />

The triangle made up of the towns of<br />

Virginia, Welkom and Theunissen used to be<br />

rich in gold mines, but for many years yields<br />

declined and the area’s economy struggled<br />

with job losses rising steadily. A fortuitous<br />

discovery of some methane gas on a farm<br />

in Virginia in 1998 led to the creation of<br />

a company and to some entrepreneurs<br />

requesting licences to explore.<br />

Which is where Petroleum Agency South<br />

Africa comes in. PASA is responsible for<br />

evaluating, promoting and regulating<br />

oil and gas exploration and production<br />

activities in South Africa and archives all<br />

relevant geotechnical data. The Agency acts<br />

as an advisor to the government and carries<br />

out special projects at the request of the<br />

Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy.<br />

Currently, natural gas supplies just 3% of<br />

South Africa’s primary energy. A significant<br />

challenge facing the development of a<br />

South Africa is one of<br />

only eight countries in<br />

the world to become a<br />

helium producer.<br />

major gas market is the dominance of coal.<br />

Opportunities for gas lie in the realisation<br />

of South Africa’s National Development<br />

Plan (NDP) and the Integrated Resource<br />

Plan (IRP).<br />

In 2007, exploration rights to the Virginia<br />

area were granted to a company which later<br />

became Tetra4, a wholly-owned subsidiary of<br />

Renergen. In 2012 a full onshore petroleum<br />

production right was awarded and a full<br />

Environmental Impact Assessment was<br />

completed in 2017.<br />

As custodian, Petroleum Agency SA<br />

ensures that companies applying for gas<br />

rights are vetted to make sure they are<br />

financially qualified and technically capable,<br />

as well having a good environmental track<br />

record. Oil and gas exploration requires<br />

enormous capital outlay and can represent<br />

a risk to workers, communities and the<br />

environment. Applicants are therefore<br />

required to prove their capabilities and<br />

safety record and must carry insurance for<br />

environmental rehabilitation.<br />

The Tetra4 Virginia Gas Project is the only<br />

holder of an onshore petroleum production<br />

licence issued by the Department of Mineral<br />

Resources and Energy through PASA.<br />

In the years since the first rights were<br />

issued, the project leaders have rolled out<br />

various aspects of the project, particularly<br />

related to contracts with manufacturers and<br />

transport companies for the use of liquified<br />

natural gas (LNG). But helium production<br />

was also on line.<br />

In October 2022, the commercial<br />

operation of the LNG plant came on<br />

stream and in January 2023, helium<br />

started being produced.<br />

To put this into perspective, with the<br />

January announcement South Africa<br />

became one of only eight countries in the<br />

world to become a helium producer. There<br />

are now just 16 places on the planet where<br />

this valuable resource is produced.<br />

Renergen states that the economic (NPV)<br />

valuation for proved and probable reserves<br />

as of 2019 was R8.9-billion. Subsequent tests<br />

have suggested that the resource is even<br />

more plentiful than first thought.<br />

Helium is used in rocket launches and<br />

microchips and about 85 tons of it are<br />

used every day.<br />

The potential economic spinoffs for South<br />

Africa – and the effect that the availability<br />

of LNG could have on making the country’s<br />

transport industry less reliant on dirty fuels<br />

– will be enormous.<br />

And PASA has played a vital role in<br />

bringing this all about, by issuing licences in<br />

a responsible manner.<br />


The transition to cleaner fuels and<br />

renewables is inevitable if the world is<br />

to reduce the negative impact of climate<br />

change. South Africa is a signatory to the<br />

Paris Agreement and has committed to a<br />

“Peak-Plateau-Decline” carbon emission<br />

trajectory. The government’s policy is to<br />

diversify the country’s energy mix which is<br />

currently coal-dominated to a lower-carbon<br />

future by introducing proportionately<br />

higher renewable-energy resources such<br />

as wind and solar into the energy mix as<br />

well as gas-to-power. Gas burns with less<br />

than half the CO2 emissions from coal and<br />

additionally has no SOx emissions.<br />

Gas is therefore a suitable transition<br />

fuel towards a lower-carbon economy<br />

for South Africa especially since gas-topower<br />

technologies are flexible and would<br />

therefore complement the intermittent<br />

renewable energy being added to the<br />

national grid.<br />

South Africa’s energy mix is changing<br />

to include more gas through importing<br />

liquefied natural gas (LNG), using shale gas<br />

if reserves prove commercial and developing<br />

10 | <strong>Service</strong> magazine

oil and gas<br />

S<br />

infrastructure for the import of LNG.<br />

Petroleum Agency SA plays an important<br />

role in developing South Africa’s gas market<br />

by attracting qualified and competent<br />

companies to explore for gas. Another<br />

major focus is increasing the inclusion of<br />

historically disadvantaged South Africanowned<br />

entities in the upstream industry.<br />

The International Energy Association<br />

(IEA) has published a report, Africa Energy<br />

Outlook 2022, which tackles the supposed<br />

conflict between Africa’s developmental<br />

needs and the urgent imperative to move<br />

away from fossil fuels.<br />

Both can be achieved, according to the<br />

report. A key factor in allowing Africa to<br />

continue to industrialise will be an uptick in<br />

the discovery and use of gas. If all the gas so<br />

far discovered in and off Africa was used,<br />

the continent’s share of global emissions<br />

would rise by 0.5% to 3.5%.<br />

Petroleum Agency South Africa<br />

has welcomed the report. PASA has<br />

consistently argued that South Africa’s<br />

road to net zero emissions will be via gas.<br />

As PASA CEO, Dr Phindile Masangane,<br />

noted in the context of major discoveries<br />

of oil condensate off the southern coast,<br />

“Gas is an obvious bridge to a lower-carbon<br />

future in South Africa.” S<br />


Petroleum Agency SA aspires to be a<br />

world–class organisation, committed to:<br />

• Professional excellence<br />

• Integrity<br />

• Direct, open, consultative<br />

communication<br />

• Transparency<br />

• Respect<br />

• Teamwork<br />

• Active regard for our natural<br />

environment<br />

• Corporate social responsibility in<br />

an empowering, vibrant workplace<br />

where diversity is valued.<br />

The Virginia Gas Project started<br />

producing helium in January 2023, a<br />

significant milestone for South Africa,<br />

which becomes the world’s eighth<br />

helium producer. Renergen is operating<br />

with licences from Petroleum Agency<br />

South Africa.<br />

Credit: Renergen<br />

New uses for natural gas. As the<br />

holder of the only onshore petroleum<br />

production licence issued by the<br />

Department of Mineral Resources<br />

and Energy through PASA, Renergen,<br />

through its subsidiary Tetra4, is<br />

producing natural gas and helium from<br />

its Virginia Gas Project near Welkom in<br />

the Free State.<br />

Credit: Renergen<br />

<strong>Service</strong> magazine | 11

S<br />

energy<br />

The power of Uhuru<br />

Uhuru is a Swahili word that means freedom. Uhuru Development Projects means power and<br />

energy for municipalities in South Africa. <strong>Service</strong> magazine speaks to Aretha Charles, founder<br />

of Uhuru Development Projects, about energy solutions for local government.<br />

Please share with us your career trajectory?<br />

In 2011, I worked in a pilot project funded by the [then] South<br />

African National Energy Research Institute (SANERI), effecting<br />

renewable energy technologies that ranged from biogas to solar<br />

systems to energy efficiency and power generation. We worked closely<br />

with the University of Fort Hare which conducted its own research<br />

in renewable energy in terms of interventions and techniques for<br />

rural areas.<br />

My personal ambition was to prove that a black female-owned<br />

South African company can take space in this industry. In 2012, I<br />

established Uhuru Development Projects, which was based on the<br />

implementation of the research projects mentioned above. Our<br />

area of expertise is divided into energy efficiency with the focus on<br />

municipalities and off-grid run electrification. Our objective is to<br />

meet the socio-economic dynamics of energy security in the rural<br />

areas of South Africa.<br />

Please outline Uhuru Development Projects’ successes.<br />

I cannot paint a glamorous picture as it has not been an easy<br />

journey. This industry requires huge capital security for project<br />

implementation. A project needs finance before it is even bankable.<br />

Uhuru has technology partners in Europe and we have<br />

engaged with manufacturers from various countries in terms of<br />

understanding our products in their entirety in the market to<br />

ensure that we do not only introduce components of the products<br />

to South Africa.<br />

Our success is owed to research, piloting projects and forming<br />

strategic partnerships. Our growth is based on the understanding<br />

we have of the legislative developments in South Africa.<br />

We were a part of the engagements with the 100MW generation<br />

licence change.<br />

Uhuru is exceptionally well-structured today to the point that<br />

where there is an energy crisis, we can offer training, manufacturing<br />

and energy-efficiency programmes to lessen the current demand for<br />

electricity and to balance loadshedding. Our offerings are feasible<br />

for IPPs as well.<br />

Does Uhuru have any strategic partnerships?<br />

Our strategic partnerships are part of our core strength. We have a<br />

Turkish-based technology partner with over 20 years’ experience in<br />

developing IPPs and energy-efficiency turnkey projects.<br />

Our funders have interests in different projects, so that we have<br />

financial partners for each of the various projects in a model that<br />

fits our structure.<br />

We have partnered with iNgonyama Trust in KwaZulu-Natal and<br />

have 50% shareholding in a subsidiary company which is strategically<br />

positioned to place any deficiencies in skills development or power<br />

generation with entities that have social capital.<br />

Our skills programme was piloted with EWSeta and is now an<br />

implementation document for our proposals.<br />

We are setting up another strategic partnership with Mbuyane<br />

Traditional Council in Mpumalanga which allows us to tap into their<br />

land pockets and partake in the just energy transition as well.<br />

What is your stance on South Africa’s energy crisis?<br />

I am on the Renewable Energy Master Plan Committee and Brics<br />

Energy Working Group so I have insight into what 7government is<br />

trying to do. We bought into that structure based on understanding<br />

the industry and our input impacts the country’s plan.<br />

As a developer, I feel the energy crisis could have been avoided.<br />

Government should have taken more of a position in understanding<br />

that skills constitute all sectors and that for any sector to get off the<br />

ground it must invest in skills development for people to do the<br />

work. We need to use the energy crisis to fight unemployment.<br />

Secondly, government needs to implement and balance the<br />

supply and demand that causes loadshedding. When consumption<br />

capacity, which is the grid, is less than demand interventions need<br />

to be implemented to ensure that infrastructure is energy efficient.<br />

Without grid problems, there are no problems with supply. South<br />

Africa has 46 000MW of capacity yet we only produce 26 000MW;<br />

we need more megawatts so in the interim, intercessions should be<br />

applied that warrant energy-efficient infrastructure.<br />

Streetlights, municipal government buildings and hospital lighting<br />

should go off grid and indigent households could be subsidised<br />

with off-grid systems.<br />

As government, invest in skills development, have energy-efficient<br />

infrastructure to lessen demand on Eskom and create an enabling<br />

environment where this can be implemented but make sure that it<br />

is implemented.<br />

What future do you see for municipalities<br />

in the renewable energy sector?<br />

It is not really about the future. Municipalities are the custodians of<br />

energy distribution for many communities in South Africa as they<br />

transmit the power to the end user. They should be one of Eskom’s<br />

major consumers and Eskom should understand what their capacity<br />

needs are, for whatever reason, be it municipal, city or metro. That<br />

is what municipalities need from Eskom and these projections need<br />

to start now. They should already be a part of Eskom’s programme.<br />

One of the services that Uhuru offers municipalities is to take<br />

elements of energy that do not generate municipal revenue off the<br />

grid. So, for example, rather than accumulate Eskom debt, which is<br />

unable to meet the demand of power, take streetlights off the grid.<br />

Implement energy-efficient temporary solutions, take streetlights,<br />

municipal buildings and indigent households off the grid to enable<br />

an energy-efficient infrastructure and in doing so, savings are made<br />

12 | <strong>Service</strong> magazine

energy<br />

S<br />

We need to use the energy crisis to<br />

fight unemployment.<br />

on the municipal balance sheet and the municipality becomes<br />

financially viable. Legislation dictates that a municipality must be<br />

financially viable to generate its own power or to purchase electricity<br />

from an IPP.<br />

It is a legislated obligation for municipalities to ensure that<br />

streetlights and municipal buildings are functional. Municipalities<br />

are also obligated to provide 50 free electricity units to impoverished<br />

households each month. These three interventions alone will<br />

facilitate a participation agreement with the municipality based on<br />

the attained savings.<br />

On enactment of a municipal project, Uhuru conducts a skills<br />

audit to determine the beneficiary and then provides training to<br />

them so that they become our rollout service providers in terms<br />

of implementation. Such programmes fit into and are ideal for<br />

municipalities, who should be spearheading such interventions.<br />

Municipalities remain as one of our main focuses in terms of<br />

clientele and these interventions can be easily implemented in them.<br />

The Energy Crisis Disaster Management Act has guidelines that<br />

are structured at provincial level and our mediations work from<br />

provincial level down too.<br />

When Uhuru conducts an audit, we project the potential savings in<br />

terms of power and rand value that could be made in implementing<br />

one of our programmes, which also offer immediate interventions<br />

for energy efficiency. Our projects help municipalities improve their<br />

job creation and skills development quotas and because they are a<br />

point of implementation, they become a strategic partner.<br />

Our strategy is to target municipalities in Mpumalanga where<br />

there is grid access. With grid capacity owing to the existing power<br />

stations in Mpumalanga, it is possible to generate excess power and<br />

sell it back to Eskom.<br />

Would you like to add anything?<br />

It is time for government to give us a platform of engagement. We<br />

understand what is happening globally in terms of just economic<br />

activities but if we were to zoom into South Africa, we would see a<br />

country that is relatively small that needs a proactive government to<br />

partner with the private sector and implement such interventions.<br />

We are not an advocate for cutting corners. Every working<br />

agreement made with government should be guided by legislation<br />

frameworks so that work is done within the rule of law. Public-private<br />

partnerships need a framework to work within. Government is at<br />

the forefront and is supposed to provide energy security for South<br />

African citizens and these interventions need to at least take off.<br />

We need a proactive government that is willing to listen, a<br />

government that is able to reciprocate with an attitude that “this<br />

is what we as government can do for you” and then guide us<br />

accordingly. In terms of implementation, we are open to such things.<br />

Together with the iNgonyama Trust, Uhuru Development Projects<br />

wants to roll out solar street lighting in rural areas. This hasn’t been<br />

done before in South Africa.<br />

Uhuru has so much to offer to the value chain in terms of energy<br />

interventions, energy efficiency and power generation. S<br />

Aretha Charles, Founder, Uhuru Development Projects.<br />

<strong>Service</strong> magazine | 13

S<br />

utilities<br />

Power cuts in South Africa<br />

are playing havoc with the<br />

country’s water system<br />

South Africans lost a record 205 days of electricity in 2022 due to constant breakdowns at the coal-fired power plants<br />

run by Eskom, the state-owned electricity utility. The plants are old and have not been sufficiently maintained.<br />

By Anja du Plessis*<br />

T<br />

The country’s energy crisis has been escalating since April 2008,<br />

when scheduled power cuts were first implemented. One of the<br />

biggest casualties of more than a decade of severe power outages has<br />

been the country’s water processing and distribution networks. The<br />

most recent, and escalated, blackouts have led to water utilities in<br />

parts of the country issuing warnings about damage to water supply<br />

infrastructure and operations.<br />

The negative effects on water supply are far-reaching. Energy<br />

and water are intertwined. The water reticulation system – the<br />

transport of water from source, the treatment of water and sewage<br />

and the distribution and delivery of water to consumers – all<br />

require electricity.<br />

A number of cities, including Johannesburg and Nelson Mandela<br />

Bay, as well as smaller towns, have had drastic water cuts.<br />

These experiences – as well as the growing frequency of sewage<br />

spills – have given South Africans a glimpse of what the future might<br />

hold if the energy crisis isn’t properly addressed. Water shortages and<br />

prolonged cuts in supply are likely to become increasingly common.<br />


A typical piped water supply system consists of the following:<br />

Water reticulation system.<br />

14 | <strong>Service</strong> magazine

utilities<br />

S<br />

Water processing and distribution networks require electricity to<br />

pump water, for example, to water towers and reservoirs and then<br />

to consumers. Prolonged power cuts halt this process if no suitable<br />

back-up pumps are in place. The same applies to water treatment<br />

plants. Prolonged power outages can cause sewage spills if no<br />

working back-up pumps are in place.<br />

The power cuts have:<br />

• Further damaged already dilapidated and aged water<br />

infrastructure. The City of Cape Town is a case in point. The<br />

city’s systems are in danger of collapsing unless new investments<br />

are made to avoid or limit further damage.<br />

• Slowed or cut-off water distribution and delivery as the water<br />

reticulation system requires energy (for example working pumps).<br />

Without a continued required level of pressure in a pumpingbased<br />

transmission and distribution system, water cannot be<br />

distributed and delivered to the consumer. In Johannesburg,<br />

reservoirs have been unable to recover during severe power cuts.<br />

Some have reached critically low levels, leading to intermittent<br />

water supply, low water pressure and in some instances prolonged<br />

water outages.<br />

• Affected reticulation infrastructure. This is because sewage<br />

pump stations have broken due to old age and non-maintenance<br />

causing sewage spills. Multiple beaches have been closed in Cape<br />

Town and eThekwini municipalities due to unacceptable E. coli<br />

levels, attributed to pumps either not working or breaking,<br />

leading to sewage spills.<br />

The problems triggered by the power cuts have been made worse by<br />

the fact that the country’s water infrastructure has been deteriorating<br />

for decades. Water losses have been increasing because of decaying<br />

infrastructure such as old pipes which haven’t been replaced.<br />

The country also suffers from unsustainable water demands –<br />

there isn’t enough water available to meet increasing water demands<br />

from various sectors and consumers. Continued water pollution also<br />

<strong>Service</strong> magazine | 15

S<br />

utilities<br />

The country needs a clear way<br />

forward to address both the energy<br />

and water crises.<br />

decreases the amount of water that’s fit for use or consumption,<br />

contributing to water stress.<br />

In addition, allegations of corruption and misappropriation of<br />

funds have also plagued the sector.<br />


Water utilities have recognised the increase in water disruptions and<br />

outages. Consumers have been urged to:<br />

• Use less water during prolonged outages to decrease the risk<br />

of limiting water supply. Decreasing water consumption assists<br />

municipalities in dealing with operational challenges such as<br />

water towers and reservoirs reaching critically low levels.<br />

• Ensure they have water to last through the power outage (four<br />

hours or more).<br />

Other steps have been taken too:<br />

• Water restrictions have been imposed to decrease consumption,<br />

for example in the City of Johannesburg.<br />

• The City of Johannesburg is establishing contracts to lease mobile<br />

generators, specifically for prolonged power outages.<br />

• The National Energy Crisis Committee, a body run out of<br />

the president’s office, has proposed various measures such<br />

as importing energy from neighbouring countries, buying<br />

excess energy from private producers and developing<br />

emergency legislation to speed up approval and development<br />

of power plants.<br />

The country needs a clear way forward to address both the energy<br />

and water crises. These will not be solved overnight. They will require<br />

political will as well as making use of the knowledge and skills of<br />

experienced individuals within the various sectors to collectively<br />

develop a realistic and clear plan. It will require specific timelines<br />

and deliverables to address both crises: energy and water.<br />

* Anja du Plessis is an associate professor and research specialist<br />

in water resource management at the University of South Africa.<br />



In February 2023, the Department of Water and Sanitation<br />

Minister, Senzo Mchunu, officially launched the country’s<br />

largest 201-million-litres reservoir in Benoni. The Vlakfontein<br />

Reservoir is set to provide additional water storage and supply<br />

in areas east of Tshwane and the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan<br />

Municipality. The construction of the reservoir is the brainchild<br />

of the Department’s entity, Rand Water, as part of measures<br />

put into place by the utility’s strategies of refurbishing and<br />

augmenting water infrastructure.<br />

Speaking during the launch, Minister Mchunu dispelled public<br />

notions that the water sector is headed towards total collapse.<br />

“I accept that the country is facing challenges of power supply<br />

and I do understand the impact of this on water supply. But I do<br />

think that it is misleading to say that the water sector is heading<br />

towards that direction and is in shambles. That is incorrect,”<br />

he said.<br />

Minister Mchunu alluded to the extensive work which is<br />

being carried out by Rand Water in Gauteng and other parts<br />

of the country, which includes the implementation of the<br />

Infrastructure Development Planning which entails planning<br />

for the refurbishment and augmentation of infrastructure, and<br />

the implementation thereof.<br />

“The augmentation I am referring to includes expansion of<br />

potable production capacity at the river stations, as well as<br />

infrastructure that radiates away from river stations, that is<br />

pipework, pumps, reservoirs or associated automation and<br />

electrical infrastructure. When pipelines, pump stations and<br />

additional potable capacity at river stations are upgraded,<br />

outright additional capacity can be delivered to customers,”<br />

said Minister Mchunu.<br />

The Vlakfontein Reservoir was planned for and built by<br />

Rand Water as part of its augmentation strategy to maintain<br />

strategic storage capacity equivalent to 24-hour water demand,<br />

especially amid the current power supply challenges as<br />

experienced across the country.<br />

The reservoir will accommodate water demands supply<br />

in areas situated in the east of Tshwane and Ekurhuleni<br />

Metropolitan Municipality up to year 2035 and this is based on<br />

compounded growth rate of 2% for the areas. Construction of<br />

the reservoir began in May 2020 and is nearing completion with<br />

a set timeframe being April 2023<br />

Article courtesy The Conversation.<br />

16 | <strong>Service</strong> magazine

energy<br />

S<br />

South African municipalities<br />

can play a key role in resolving<br />

the energy supply gap<br />

South Africa’s energy shortage is having a profound impact on its cities. Economic<br />

growth and jobs continue to be affected at a time when cities urgently need to recover<br />

from the Covid-19 crisis to retain their competitiveness and attractiveness.<br />

C<br />

Craig Kesson, PwC South Africa advisory partner and cities leader,<br />

says: “Resolving the energy shortfall requires a collective effort across<br />

private and public sectors, including, and especially, by municipalities<br />

who play a key role in the development of sustainable energy<br />

strategies. By playing a key role in resolving the energy supply<br />

gap, municipalities will be able to contribute to local economic<br />

development and job creation.”<br />

In its newly released report, “The cities’ role in managing the<br />

energy supply challenges”, PwC outlines what can be done in the<br />

municipal sphere to help fix the country’s energy shortage and<br />

discusses how these solutions can have potential revenue benefits<br />

for municipalities.<br />

In the report, PwC outlines seven immediate measures to help<br />

bridge the energy supply gap and end loadshedding in the short<br />

run. These solutions include municipalities:<br />

• Enabling wheeling of energy generation (both the infrastructure<br />

and the policy framework to deliver energy from generator to<br />

end-user through existing distribution or transmission).<br />

• Supporting the installation of microgrids and small-scale<br />

embedded generation.<br />

• Supporting the purchase of power from Independent Power<br />

Producers (IPPs).<br />

• Prioritising spending on repairs and maintenance of<br />

infrastructure, as well as protecting it.<br />


South African municipalities have a constitutional mandate to<br />

distribute electricity to citizens. They predominantly purchase power<br />

directly from state-owned energy utility Eskom, and distribute and<br />

sell power to consumers or reimburse Eskom for direct distribution<br />

to them. The on-sell of electricity is a key source of revenue for<br />

municipalities and has accounted for almost 30% of municipal<br />

revenues in recent years. Without this revenue stream, which often<br />

leaves municipalities with surplus funds, many are not able to crosssubsidise<br />

other debt and expenditure items.<br />

Nasreen Mosam, PwC South Africa international development<br />

partner, says: “This culminates in a cycle where the rising cost of<br />

electricity leads to rising prices for consumers. This in turn results<br />

in more people being unable to pay service charges. This further<br />

increases costs and reduces revenue for municipalities, increasing the<br />

negative impact on municipal finances. This means that providing<br />

key services such as public security, housing and maintaining public<br />

spaces is also affected.”<br />


Despite the country’s current power challenges, municipalities can<br />

help resolve the energy supply gap. “Cities’ energy strategies will play<br />

a key role in achieving sustainability and energy stability in the long<br />

run,” Kesson says. “The ideal scenario would be for municipalities to<br />

purchase electricity from different suppliers in a competitive market<br />

at competitive prices, which will allow for resale at a surplus and<br />

transmission at lower cost to consumers. Efforts are underway to<br />

achieve this through the unbundling of Eskom and opening up of<br />

the energy market to competition from the private sector,” he says.<br />

Mosam says municipal efforts to close the energy supply gap and<br />

bring down energy prices can also set the course for sustainable<br />

municipal revenue sources to finance spending.<br />

Kesson says: “Ideally, we would see the private sector generate<br />

renewable energy and distribute it more cost-effectively to<br />

consumers through municipalities. Municipalities would have longterm<br />

contracts with private IPPs to purchase renewable electricity<br />

at guaranteed prices that are lower in a competitive market, and<br />

municipalities would win because they would obtain revenue for<br />

their role in distribution.<br />

“Consumers would win because electricity prices would likely<br />

come down in a competitive system. The lower cost of electricity<br />

and higher certainty of supply would contribute to a virtuous<br />

cycle of economic growth, rising property values, more customers<br />

paying accounts, more employment and greater socioeconomic<br />

development outcomes.”<br />

He says municipalities need to act now to mitigate supply gaps in<br />

the short run by putting in place the necessary policy frameworks,<br />

mobilising resources that will enable wheeling as well as re-entering<br />

small and medium scale generation into the municipal grid. Crucially,<br />

municipalities will also need to establish a long-term strategy<br />

regarding their own role in electricity provision going forward. This<br />

will include modelling the optimal mix of different energy sources<br />

needed to enhance supply and meet demand, as well as attracting<br />

and retaining strong, capable teams to accommodate the new skill sets<br />

required to operate in this market.<br />

This way, municipalities will be able to retain their role in energy<br />

generation and to be part of a sustainable energy solution that works<br />

for producers and consumers. S<br />

<strong>Service</strong> magazine | 17

S<br />

water<br />

When crises collide: water is<br />

SA’s next “perfect storm”<br />

South Africa is, by some accounts, already “out” of water. In an already water-scarce country,<br />

demand outstrips supply, while water treatment plants falter and the country’s climate continues to<br />

warm at unprecedented – and deadly – rates. A perfect storm, experts warn, is coming.<br />

During the first decade of South Africa’s democracy, 13.4-million<br />

people gained access to basic water services. But a tap in a home or<br />

in the yard is no guarantee that clean water regularly flows through<br />

it. In some North West and Limpopo communities, dry pipes briefly<br />

spurt to life at 3am. Residents who do not set an alarm to collect<br />

water, go without.<br />

In the Free State, a good storm can send desperate families<br />

scrambling to put out buckets to catch the rain. Children will even<br />

scoop up pooling water with their hands to add to the haul.<br />

Meanwhile, the water tankers brought in by the government to fill<br />

gaps in service delivery in the province have become big business,<br />

the Mail & Guardian reported in 2022.<br />

South Africa’s demand for water now outstrips its supply. Water,<br />

of course, can be reused – but the country’s water infrastructure<br />

can no longer supply many communities with reliable access to safe<br />

drinking water.<br />

Wastewater treatment plants, meanwhile, dump raw sewage into<br />

waterways, probably fuelling upticks in disease.<br />

And Eskom’s decline is deepening the problem.<br />


Experts have spent more than a decade measuring the water South<br />

Africa has and comparing it to what it needs to fill the nation’s<br />

kettles, water its crops and mine its riches.<br />

By 2002, what South Africa used in water was already<br />

outstripping what it had, says Dr Anthony Turton, professor at<br />

the Centre for Environmental Management at the University<br />

of the Free State. In 2003, scientists believed South Africa<br />

possessed 53-billion cubic metres of water. Today, Turton says<br />

better modeling and declining rainfall have placed that figure at<br />

about 49-billion cubic metres.<br />

“After all considerations, it was discovered that we had allocated<br />

about 98% of all the water available in the country. Effectively<br />

we became water-deficient in 2002,” explains Turton. He warns<br />

that South Africa is transitioning to a fundamentally waterconstrained<br />

economy. Meanwhile, sewage management systems<br />

are collapsing and the country threatens to outstrip its capacity<br />

to process safe drinking water.<br />

Turton concludes: “The South African water sector is entering<br />

the early phase of a ‘perfect storm’ driven by the convergence of<br />

significant drivers over which no [one] individual has any control.”<br />

Unpurified river water in many parts<br />

of South Africa is used to<br />

water crops.<br />

But when it comes to water, it is not just about how much you<br />

have — it’s about how good it is. And what South Africa has, it is<br />

not very good at safeguarding. In the Department of Water and<br />

Sanitation’s latest drinking water report, more than 60% of water<br />

supply systems did not meet water quality standards.<br />

Meanwhile, 40% or more of water in Johannesburg and eThekwini is<br />

lost to leaks and theft before it ever reaches consumers.<br />

“South Africa is a water-scarce country, so we’re obviously<br />

affected by the semi-arid to arid climate,” explains Dr Anja du<br />

Plessis, a University of South Africa water expert. “But what<br />

we’re seeing now is what’s called ‘economic water scarcity’.<br />

In places like Johannesburg, you have the water supplies;<br />

however, you are experiencing shortages because of dilapidated<br />

infrastructure.” She continues: “[That] infrastructure is now<br />

collapsing under loadshedding.”<br />

Similarly, the most recent audits of wastewater treatment plants<br />

found that 100 were so poorly run that they posed a serious risk to<br />

public health and the environment.<br />

For instance, the South African Human Rights Commission found<br />

that broken Gauteng wastewater treatment plants have dumped<br />

so much raw sewage into the Vaal River that the waterway is now<br />

polluted beyond any acceptable measure. The Commission noted<br />

that raw sewage from these same plants had also found its way into<br />

nearby schools and homes.<br />

Our health turns on the health of rivers like the Vaal or the<br />

Orange, Turton says.<br />

18 | <strong>Service</strong> magazine

water<br />

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Experts estimate that 40% or<br />

more of water in Johannesburg<br />

and eThekwini is lost to leaks and<br />

theft before it ever reaches consumers.<br />

“We used to dilute our pollution into the watercourses,” he says. “But<br />

we have so overloaded the rivers with five-billion litres of sewage<br />

daily that we have lost our dilution capacity.”<br />

He continues: “Today, the average citizen drinks water from the<br />

tap that has been processed from a sewage-contaminated river<br />

through technology that is broken and unable to safely process<br />

sewage to drinking quality standards. This affects everyone.”<br />

Unpurified river water in many parts of South Africa is used to<br />

water crops. A 2021 study funded by the Water Research Council<br />

found high levels of bacteria transmitted in the waste of animals and<br />

humans on surveyed fresh vegetables in Cape Town and Tshwane.<br />

The findings held true whether vegetables were purchased in<br />

supermarkets or from hawkers.<br />


Efforts to fix South Africa’s water system have been hampered by<br />

weak local capacity and deep corruption. Municipalities, which Du<br />

Plessis says bear the biggest responsibility for clean water provision<br />

in the country, do not have the ability to fix the system. Each year,<br />

budgets to safeguard water supplies go unspent.<br />

“The inability to spend results in the misfortune of the current<br />

ageing infrastructure,” writes Department of Water and Sanitation<br />

Minister Senzo Mchunu in the department’s latest annual report.<br />

“Where some of the infrastructure may not be old, the dismal and<br />

inadequate maintenance, particularly of municipal infrastructure,<br />

remains an Achilles heel.”<br />

When municipalities can spend money to maintain or expand<br />

infrastructure, the department notes, projects can be waylaid by<br />

protests by local business forums and communities demanding jobs<br />

before projects can be completed.<br />

The department has pointed out that there are maintenance<br />

backlogs of more than R35.5-billion.<br />


The average annual temperature in South Africa has increased by<br />

at least one degree celsius during the last 50 years, almost twice<br />

the global average, according to a 2021 study published in the<br />

journal Environmental Research. Temperatures in the country are<br />

projected to continue to rise at a greater rate than the global average.<br />

A child born in the next 20 years could grow old in a country that is<br />

up to six degrees hotter than average temperatures nearly a century<br />

before, the study warns. And heat can be deadly.<br />

The South African Medical Research Council’s Dr Caradee<br />

Wright says the recent deaths of farmworkers in the Northern<br />

Cape should be a warning. Emerging research also suggests<br />

that hotter temperatures may be linked with some types of birth<br />

defects, particularly holes in foetuses’ hearts. And as more homes<br />

go without steady access to water, the public health threats only<br />

grow, Wright warns.<br />

“When you don’t have continuous water supply, you store water,”<br />

she says, “and when you store water, you immediately start to run into<br />

trouble.” In many homes, families store water in open-air containers,<br />

often dipping in the same shared cup to collect water. With each<br />

cupful, new germs are introduced into bins that are rarely cleaned.<br />

In an environment like this, diarrhoeal disease – which can<br />

be deadly in small children, the elderly and people with weaker<br />

immune systems – can spread like wildfire. And the country’s<br />

health system – like its water infrastructure – may not be prepared<br />

to cope with new waves of disease that accompany a hotter, more<br />

water-scarce world.<br />

“Our healthcare systems and other structures that we have in<br />

place are not fully functioning for the majority of the country,”<br />

she says. “We’re starting from a bad baseline, and I can’t see how<br />

we’re going to cope.” S<br />

Article courtesy Daily Maverick.<br />

<strong>Service</strong> magazine | 19

S<br />

water<br />

The state of our<br />

water and sanitation<br />

The Department of Water and Sanitation’s mandate as set out in the National Water Act (1998)<br />

and the Water <strong>Service</strong>s Act (1997) is to ensure that the country’s water resources are managed,<br />

developed and conserved by supporting the delivery of effective water supply and sanitation.<br />

T<br />

The Department of Water and Sanitation<br />

(DWS) maintains the delivery of safe water<br />

and the effective management of wastewater<br />

by enforcing regulatory measures. To this<br />

end, the Blue Drop, Green Drop and No<br />

Drop standards are in place to improve asset<br />

management practices in municipalities.<br />

Over the medium-term period, DWS<br />

will support 32 district municipalities<br />

with developing reliability plans and<br />

will monitor the compliance of all water<br />

services authorities with regulatory<br />

standards.<br />



DWS is leading the initiative to develop<br />

a masterplan that is intended to guide<br />

the water sector with the delivery of<br />

water and sanitation services to 2030 and<br />

beyond. The core purpose of the plan is to<br />

provide and implement a comprehensive<br />

schedule of actions, as well as to facilitate<br />

integrated investment planning for<br />

effective services delivery. The masterplan<br />

allocates responsibilities to the various<br />

tiers of government, private sector and<br />

other stakeholders.<br />



The agency leverages large-scale investments<br />

in national water resource infrastructure for<br />

sufficient bulk water supply. Augmentation<br />

interventions prevent bulk water shortages<br />

that exacerbate municipal water and<br />

sanitation service delivery.<br />


According to Stats SA, in 2021 the highest<br />

number of households provincially with tap<br />

water off- or onsite were found in Western<br />

Cape (99.4%), Gauteng (98.4%) and Free<br />

State (93.6%). Limpopo (69.4%) and Eastern<br />

Cape (71.0%) had the lowest ranks. An<br />

estimated 45.2% of households had access<br />

to piped water in 2021. A further 29.4%<br />

accessed water onsite, while 12.2% relied on<br />

communal taps, 1.9% on neighbours’ taps<br />

and 2.7% of households fetched water from<br />

natural sources.<br />

A total of 98.6% of households in<br />

metros had access to tap water, mostly<br />

in Cape Town (99.5%), Nelson Mandela<br />

Bay (99.2%) and Johannesburg (99.1%).<br />

Mangaung (92%) and eThekwini (97.7%)<br />

recorded the lowest numbers.<br />

Groundwater is the main source of water<br />

in the Karoo, Northern, Eastern and Western<br />

Cape, Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal.<br />



After being delayed for several years, fullscale<br />

construction works for the R36-billion<br />

Lesotho Highlands Phase Two project will<br />

commence in 2023. Funded by the Trans-<br />

Caledon Tunnel Authority, the project has<br />

been implemented jointly by the Lesotho<br />

and South African governments, through<br />

the Lesotho Highlands Water Commission<br />

and Development Authority. The Lesotho<br />

project is critical for the security of<br />

water supply to Gauteng, Free State,<br />

Mpumalanga, North West and the Northern<br />

Cape and is due to start delivering water<br />

to Gauteng in 2027.<br />


DWS has developments at various stages in<br />

South Africa:<br />

Eastern Cape. The Mzimvubu Water<br />

Project provides water to 750 000 people at<br />

a cost of R25-billion.<br />

Free State. A R10-billion project to build<br />

a major pipeline from Xhariep Dam to<br />

augment water supply in Mangaung is<br />

in its feasibility stage. Project completion<br />

is due in 2028. DWS has implemented a<br />

R1.7-billion project to upgrade wastewater<br />

and water treatment works as well as water<br />

distribution networks in Maluti-A-Phofung<br />

for completion in 2025.<br />

KwaZulu-Natal. The raising of the<br />

Hazelmere Dam wall to preserve long-term<br />

water supply to eThekwini was expected<br />

to be finished in 2022 (at a cost of R800-<br />

million). The construction of the uMkhomazi<br />

Water Project, aimed at delivering long-term<br />

additional water to eThekwini at a cost of<br />

R23-billion, is due to start in 2025 and<br />

completed by 2028.<br />

Limpopo. In 2022, DWS officially<br />

launched the R24-billion Olifants River<br />

Water Resources Development Project,<br />

implemented by the transformed<br />

Lebalelo Water Users Association as a<br />

public-private collaboration with mining<br />

companies (each fund 50% of the<br />

project). Water delivery to communities<br />

and mines will be fast-tracked and ready<br />

by 2028.<br />

Mpumalanga. The R1.2-billion<br />

Thembisile-Loskop Bulk Water Supply<br />

project will address water supply challenges<br />

in the Thembisile Hani Local Municipality<br />

and will be implemented over a three-year<br />

period from 2022.<br />

Northern Cape. The first phase of the Vaal<br />

Gamagara Water Supply Scheme, critical for<br />

mining and potable water supply, cost R1.4-<br />

billion. Phase 2 was expected to start in 2022<br />

at an estimated R10-billion.<br />

North West. In 2022, DWS commissioned<br />

the Moretele South Pipeline (60km) to be<br />

operated and maintained by Magalies<br />

Water and will benefit the Moretele Local<br />

Municipality.<br />

Western Cape. To increase water security<br />

on the West Coast area of Cederberg, DWS<br />

started elevating the Clanwilliam Dam<br />

wall at a cost of R3.2-billion. Construction<br />

is due to be completed in 2026. The<br />

department is executing the R21-million<br />

Brandvlei Dam project, which involves the<br />

20 | <strong>Service</strong> magazine

water<br />

S<br />

construction of a feeder canal that will<br />

provide an additional 33Ml of water for<br />

storage in the dam.<br />


Consolidated water boards. Water boards<br />

were established in terms of the Water<br />

<strong>Service</strong>s Act to provide bulk potable<br />

and wastewater to their respective water<br />

service institutions. The boards support<br />

municipalities by providing, managing<br />

and operating regional bulk water services<br />

infrastructure. They vary in activity,<br />

customer mix, revenue base and capacity.<br />

Some boards provide retail services on<br />

behalf of municipalities.<br />

Rand Water. Established in terms of the<br />

Water <strong>Service</strong>s Act, Rand Water is mandated<br />

to provide quality bulk potable water within<br />

its area of supply. Its distribution network<br />

includes 3 056km of large-diameter<br />

pipelines feeding 58 strategically located<br />

service reservoirs, with customers including<br />

metropolitan and local municipalities as<br />

well as mines and industries in Gauteng,<br />

supplying on average 3.7-million litres of<br />

water daily.<br />

Umgeni Water. Established in terms<br />

of the Water <strong>Service</strong>s Act to supply water<br />

to approximately six-million consumers<br />

mostly in the rural areas of KwaZulu-<br />

Natal and eThekwini.<br />

Magalies Water. Provides quality bulk<br />

water and secondary services directly<br />

to municipalities, mines and other<br />

industries. Raw water is drawn from<br />

rivers which flow into dams owned by<br />

DWS. Magalies Water buys the water<br />

from the four water-treatment plants and<br />

provides municipalities, which draw the<br />

water through the reservoir and sells it<br />

to consumers.<br />

Bloem Water. Established in 1991<br />

to operate the Caledon/Bloemfontein<br />

Government Water Scheme and to<br />

supply water to the municipal areas of<br />

Bloemfontein, Bainsvlei, Bloemspruit,<br />

Botshabelo and Dewetsdorp.<br />

Amatola Water. Established in 1998 to<br />

provide bulk- and basic water services to the<br />

Eastern Cape.<br />

Mhlathuze Water. Supplied by<br />

three dominant water sources in the<br />

uMkhanyakude, King Cetshwayo and<br />

Zululand district municipalities and<br />

has plans for expansion.<br />

Lepelle Northern Water. Lepelle Northern<br />

Water’s mandate is to provide bulk<br />

water to water services authorities within<br />

Limpopo, serving over three-million<br />

people and major industrial users. Lepelle<br />

partners with DWS in implementing<br />

conservation, demand management and<br />

groundwater exploration to augment<br />

surface water.<br />

Overberg Water. Overberg Water<br />

distributes water to the surrounding<br />

and rural areas of Cape Agulhas,<br />

Theewaterskloof and Swellendam. It has<br />

three water-treatment schemes with 22<br />

reservoirs that are strategically located across<br />

the Overberg region. The organisation<br />

distributes approximately four-million cubic<br />

metres of water per year in the region with a<br />

pipeline network estimated at 1 450km.<br />


• The Breede-Gouritz Catchment<br />

Management Agency, established in<br />

terms of the National Water Act, plays<br />

an important role in protecting, using,<br />

developing, conserving, managing<br />

and controlling water resources<br />

in a cooperative manner within its<br />

catchment area.<br />

• The Inkomati-Usuthu Catchment<br />

Management Agency (established in<br />

2004 in terms of the National Water Act)<br />

plays a key role in the use, protection and<br />

development of water resources in the<br />

Inkomati-Usuthu area.<br />

• The Water Research Commission,<br />

established in terms of the Water<br />

Research Act, is mandated to conduct<br />

research, enhance knowledge, build<br />

capacity; and promote the effective<br />

transfer of information and technology<br />

in the water sector.<br />

• The Water Trading Entity converted<br />

into a trading entity in terms of the<br />

Public Finance Management Act in 2008.<br />

Its primary role is to manage water<br />

infrastructure and resources.<br />

• The Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority,<br />

established in 1986 as a specialised<br />

liability management entity, derives<br />

its mandate from the National<br />

Water Act. It is responsible for the<br />

development of bulk raw water<br />

infrastructure and providing treasury<br />

management services to DWS and<br />

water boards. S<br />

SONA 2023: WATER<br />

The reliable supply of water is essential<br />

for the wellbeing of people and the<br />

growth of the economy. To ensure<br />

water security now and into the<br />

future, DWS is leading the process<br />

of investing in major infrastructure<br />

projects across the country.<br />


Several decades after it was<br />

proposed, the first phase of the<br />

Umzimvubu Water Project will start<br />

in the next financial year. This phase,<br />

which involves construction of the<br />

Ntabelanga Dam, as well as irrigation<br />

infrastructure and the distribution of<br />

water to communities will be financed<br />

by government. The next phase will be<br />

construction of the Lilane Dam, which<br />

will include a hydropower station. Major<br />

projects to increase the capacity of the<br />

Clanwilliam, Hazelmere and Tzaneen<br />

dams will improve the supply of<br />

water to the West Coast, eThekwini<br />

and eastern part of Limpopo.<br />


In 2022, goverment announced a<br />

comprehensive turnaround plan to<br />

streamline the process for water-use<br />

licence applications to facilitate greater<br />

investment. Since then, government<br />

has cleared the backlog of water-use<br />

licences and reduced the turnaround<br />

time for applications to 90 days.<br />

<strong>Service</strong> magazine | 21

S<br />

water delivery<br />

The model for delivering water<br />

and sanitation must be revised<br />

Rand Water CE Sipho Mosai explains that adding more water to the system will not be<br />

enough to future-proof it. New methods and ways of thinking are required.<br />

W<br />

Water has become one of the foremost modern-day challenges in<br />

this early part of the third millennium. This is because the era of<br />

free drinking water in unlimited quantities is over. During recent<br />

decades, a combination of human demographics and human activity<br />

has in many global regions transformed water from an abundant<br />

element to a scarce resource. The water shortages that have affected<br />

thousands of people in Gauteng are a “perfect storm” that is<br />

developing into a hurricane.<br />

Taps have run dry in several suburbs for weeks, with high-lying<br />

areas worst hit because of rolling blackouts that affect the pumping of<br />

water, major infrastructural backlogs and increased demand because<br />

of hot temperatures. Notably, water service is mostly dependent on<br />

infrastructure availability and a perfect equilibrium between water<br />

demand and the system’s capacity to meet both average and peak<br />

demands. There is an urgent need to put water higher on the<br />

country’s agenda.<br />

Various water problems are escalating at a rapid rate. The<br />

country is water scarce because of its arid to semi-arid climate and<br />

Rand Water Chief Executive, Sipho Mosai.<br />

below-average annual rainfall of 465mm compared with the global<br />

annual average of 860mm. It is ranked the 40th-driest country in<br />

the world. Secondly, the management of water consumption has<br />

been poor. South Africa is a water-scarce country, yet the average<br />

domestic water use is estimated at 237 litres per person per day,<br />

64 litres higher than the international benchmark of 173 litres<br />

per person per day.<br />


In the entire value chain, there is so much that the system or<br />

infrastructure can provide. Future water requirements by<br />

municipalities, industry and other water consumers will affect<br />

the current and future demand for water. Statistics South Africa’s<br />

growth estimates further bolster this figure. In turn, the future<br />

needs to dictate the requirements for infrastructure upgrades<br />

and refurbishments upstream and midstream of the value.<br />

The bulk water infrastructure midstream within the value<br />

chain is designed for average water consumption and peak<br />

water demands of about 35 000 megalitres a week. What does<br />

this mean? If water demand is of typical consumption (4 400<br />

megalitres in 2021/22), then the system can provide water<br />

with relative ease. Hence, in most instances, every household<br />

receives water without exception. If peak water usage exceeds<br />

Rand Water’s purifying output, municipal water is drawn from<br />

reservoirs. The reservoirs at municipal level dry out quickly as a<br />

result of excessive use. Because Rand Water continues to pump<br />

at optimum capacity, water will continue to be delivered to lowlying<br />

areas regardless.<br />

The irregular water supply in the high-lying areas is aggravated<br />

by intermittent power outages and loadshedding. Pumping and<br />

reservoir filling are impossible without a steady supply of electricity.<br />

In the event that there is no electricity to operate pumps<br />

and water usage rises to the point that reservoirs are depleted,<br />

high-lying areas will be left without water. The final segment<br />

of the value chain (downstream) lies under the purview of<br />

municipalities known as water services authority. Municipalities<br />

draw water from Rand Water’s reservoirs and distribute it<br />

to individual residences and various other customers<br />

through a system of their own pipes and reservoirs.<br />

Non-revenue water, notably physical water losses<br />

because of ageing infrastructure, is the greatest<br />

impediment that characterises the value chain,<br />

particularly in the downstream. Municipal physical<br />

water losses range between 20% and 30% (1 000 to<br />

1 500 million litres of water a day when Rand Water<br />

is pumping at maximum capacity). In a water-scarce<br />

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water delivery<br />

S<br />

In the next five years, Rand Water will invest R30-billion to expand<br />

its network of pipes and reservoirs. As part of this plan, Rand Water<br />

inaugurated a 210-million-litre storage reservoir in February.<br />

Lastly, the water and sanitation delivery model must entirely be<br />

revised in order to provide long-term and sustainable water services.<br />

Revenue generated from paying customers of water and sanitation<br />

must be ring-fenced for infrastructure operations, maintenance,<br />

renovation and augmentation. I believe that the current structural<br />

arrangement should be revised and be replaced by new utilities that<br />

will operate the full value chain from abstraction to reticulation.<br />

Governance and funding mechanisms can be developed to ensure<br />

that these utilities are successful and sustainable. S<br />

Sedimentation tanks at Zuikerbosch Purification Plant.<br />

nation that imports the majority of its raw water, this quantity<br />

of water is enormous.<br />

With the purpose of addressing the distribution of water, local<br />

governments should make significant investments. Sadly, the sector<br />

does not spend enough on water conservation and demandmanagement<br />

methods to turn the situation around as quickly as<br />

possible. The expansion of cities and towns necessitates substantial<br />

future investments to not only reduce water loss but also free up<br />

additional water to meet the water needs of future urban growth.<br />


As water consumers, we must conserve water and change our<br />

behaviour to reflect our situation. We should resist the temptation to<br />

fill swimming pools and irrigate our lawns with potable water during<br />

periods of extreme heat. During high-level peaks of loadshedding<br />

and heat waves avoiding these will considerably improve water<br />

supply for all.<br />

Secondly, local municipalities must prioritise non revenue water.<br />

This will also aid in reducing wastage by paying for water that is<br />

not used. To maintain water-supply sustainability and reliability,<br />

infrastructure upgrades and refurbishments must receive sufficient<br />

funding. By the end of 2023, Rand Water will have added 600-million<br />

litres of water per day to the system.<br />

Inlet pipe to flocculators at Zuikerbosch.<br />

<strong>Service</strong> magazine | 23

S<br />

utilities<br />

Non-payment for water<br />

services is reaching a crisis point<br />

TRand Water is growing and investing in infrastructure but its financial viability<br />

is threatened by cumulative municipal debt of R5.8-billion.<br />

The Rand Water Board is a significant institution in the water<br />

sector and the country’s economy. It is a strategic institution that is<br />

investing and building formidable infrastructure for water provision<br />

to Africa’s largest regional economy. The entity played a significant<br />

historical role in helping to make Johannesburg and Gauteng the<br />

formidable economic hub that it has become, supplying the early<br />

gold mining companies with the water and sound infrastructure<br />

they needed to thrive in their time.<br />

The entity has grown and has adjusted from one decade to the<br />

next, the result of strong leadership and capable management<br />

supported by technical professionals that have been nurtured<br />

and harnessed over many years. It is also important to note that<br />

domestic and commercial water users have always been able to<br />

help sustain the running of this great South African entity. As a<br />

result, Rand Water in recent years, has been contributing greatly<br />

to finding and sharing water and infrastructure solutions on the<br />

African continent, as an equal partner and strategic contributor to<br />

the knowledge economy.<br />

The organisation’s performance indicates that it is currently on<br />

solid ground. Over the last three years, Rand Water Board revenue<br />

has been growing modestly. The entity also continues to invest in<br />

infrastructure expansion and in supplying drinkable water quality<br />

to its customers.<br />


There are challenges in the business environment, which include:<br />

• non-payment by users resulting in a huge debt book<br />

• failure of municipalities in Gauteng to pay for water delivery<br />

• slow payments<br />

• National economic slowdown due to global conditions<br />

• inability of customers to pay for water services to municipalities.<br />

Some of the economic impact outlined above is as a result of job<br />

losses due to the economic impact of Covid-19.<br />

Despite these issues, Rand Water has continuously shown<br />

resilience in its performance, posting excellent results. The critical<br />

operational ratios demonstrate that the organisation is doing well.<br />

Revenue is growing year on year. In the financial year 2022/23, the<br />

entity performed above set targets, income grew by R17-million,<br />

which represented 51% growth. Net income was up by R576-million<br />

compared to the previous financial year. Irregular expenditure was<br />

reduced from R110-million to R3.35-million.<br />

The Rand Water Board received an unqualified audit opinion for<br />

the year, commendable for an organisation of this kind. Maintaining<br />

a clean audit and good credit rating is good for fundraising and<br />

in the bond market. On project implementation, the Rand Water<br />

Board has performed well. Having set itself a target of achieving<br />

95% project completion by the end of the financial year, the target<br />

was exceeded with 115.8%.<br />


This upward trend in achievement is also seen with other targets<br />

such as employment creation and the black empowerment<br />

programme of the organisation. The repair and maintenance of<br />

assets has also been attended to. This is critical as an assurance to<br />

the investors and the citizens of the province and South Africa that<br />

the Water Board does look after its assets and the longevity of the<br />

investment and assurance of supply is guaranteed. It is important<br />

to remember that the policy of the national government is to keep<br />

this economy at 99% assurance of water supply.<br />

Rand Water is one of the strong water-sector entities that is giving<br />

this government and Africa’s biggest economic hub that benefit and<br />

a strategic guarantee. Also, the entity has assured the citizens that<br />

24 | <strong>Service</strong> magazine

utilities<br />

S<br />

there will be no Day Zero in Gauteng province. Additionally, Rand<br />

Water is able to continuously invest in the building of infrastructure.<br />

According to its latest annual report, Rand Water has promised to<br />

invest R25-billion. This is good news for any investor who wants to<br />

build a business in Gauteng.<br />


The Rand Water Board has a good story to tell, but this may be<br />

threatened, not because of how the entity operates or drives its<br />

business but due to the externalities and operational environment<br />

beyond the Water Board’s control. For instance, economic forces<br />

that are currently at play can present risks. All water boards have<br />

municipalities as their main customers. A total 80% of Rand Water’s<br />

revenue comes from Gauteng municipalities as they are all supplied<br />

by the body. These municipalities currently owe the water board<br />

R5.8-billion. This has an adverse impact on the finances of the entity.<br />

This could have assisted in alleviating the debt burden on projects.<br />

Measures must be put in place to collect outstanding debt. If<br />

this is achieved, Rand Water can improve and expand its water<br />

infrastructure. If this is not diligently managed, it may pose a<br />

huge risk to the body’s liquidity and cause the entity to fail in<br />

managing to service its loans. This could cause a mismatch of<br />

assets and liabilities resulting in a bad credit rating. The global<br />

pandemic had a huge negative economic impact and the Rand<br />

Water Board was not spared.<br />

The closure of companies, production reduction and<br />

retrenchments caused cash flows to stall and this had a ripple<br />

impact on downstream clients. In Gauteng, the inability of<br />

big municipalities to pay the board on time was noted and<br />

this phenomenon has continued despite the reopening of the<br />

economy following the end of the pandemic. For instance,<br />

Ekurhuleni pays in 59 days with consumption growth of 3%<br />

year-on-year. Tshwane payment is in 56 days, its consumption<br />

growing by 58%. The City of Johannesburg Municipality<br />

must be commended for honouring their invoices on time.<br />

Johannesburg must find R61-billion to refurbish its collapsing<br />

infrastructure to manage its water losses from old infrastructure.<br />

Emfuleni payment is now at 237 days, down from 3 365 days and<br />

consumption is growing by 14% year on year.<br />

The overdue amount to Rand Water is R676-million and<br />

arrangements have been put in place to settle this debt.<br />


Despite these challenges, the Rand Water Board is still able to<br />

spend R3-billion per annum to maintain infrastructure and meet<br />

its obligations. It is anticipated that in the next five years the<br />

Water Board is likely to spend multiple billions on infrastructure<br />

investment. This is commendable in that the infrastructure<br />

rollout is keeping pace with the province’s demands due to rapid<br />

population growth, economic development and other major<br />

activities. Rand Water’s strategy aims to ensure that it stays on<br />

this path to match the demand of its market.<br />

However, the time has come to start to proactively find<br />

approaches that protect it from elements that are detrimental to<br />

its operations.<br />

Gauteng and the country need this entity to keep working<br />

continuously to maintain its infrastructure and delivery of water to<br />

its consumers. The Water Board aims to have a positive impact on<br />

the business environment in which it operates. It must continue to<br />

strengthen its work with the municipalities, including joint activities<br />

which will encourage a payment culture for water and other services.<br />

Rand Water is a catalyst for economic growth. It must succeed. S<br />

Weltevreden Reservoir, (interior).<br />

Carbonation bay at Zuikerbosch Purification Plant.<br />

<strong>Service</strong> magazine | 25

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water delivery<br />

What municipalities can do to<br />

promote efficient water delivery<br />

If municipalities can reduce water loss, water-demand volumes will return to levels where Rand Water’s purification systems<br />

can deliver. Rand Water also identifies here the major supply interruption factors hampering effective water purification and<br />

primary pumping.<br />

Rand Water has been part of the economic success story of the<br />

greater Johannesburg area almost from the time that gold was<br />

discovered. Unlike many cities that are located near water, it was<br />

gold that caused the city to be built.<br />

The first residents and the industries which developed in support<br />

of the gold-mining industry were a long way from water.<br />

The nearest water source is the Vaal River and several dams have<br />

been constructed along that water course to supply the large urban<br />

and peri-urban population that has grown up around Johannesburg.<br />

Rand Water has supplied those people – and farmers and other<br />

small-scale water users – reliably for a long time.<br />

The dams along the Integrated Vaal River System (IVRS) to<br />

supplement the Vaal Dam are the Woodstock and Sterkfontein<br />

Dams in KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State provinces, the<br />

Grootdraai Dam in Mpumalanga and the Katse and Mohale Dams<br />

in the Kingdom of Lesotho.<br />

Droughts are a frequent feature of the South African climate,<br />

some lasting more than four years. South Africa is the 30th-driest<br />

country in the world. Climate change has added to the challenges<br />

faced by water authorities and so consumers must not be lulled into<br />

a false sense of security when dams are full.<br />

Inlet pipe to flocculators at Zuikerbosch.<br />


Municipalities can play a role in helping to reduce demand for water,<br />

thus reducing the pressure on water supply.<br />

The Annual Average Daily Demand (AADD) of 4 600Ml/d,<br />

is within the Rand Water treatment capacity of 5 000Ml/d. The<br />

AADD is derived from municipal estimates of annual demand. If<br />

consumption increases demand above the treatment capacity of<br />

Rand Water treatment then problems arise.<br />

National water consumption per capita per day is 233 litresper-person<br />

against an international standard of 173 litres. Some<br />

municipalities have water losses up to 40%. This is against the<br />

figure of just 6.5% for Rand Water. Reduction in water losses<br />

will reduce the water demand volume which, in turn, will result<br />

in the reduction in per capita consumption.<br />


The major supply interruption factors for effective water purification<br />

and primary pumping are as follows:<br />

Absence of alternative power supply. Zuikerbosch is supplied by<br />

Eskom and is protected by an agreement not to be loadshed other<br />

than to save the grid. There are negotiations with Emfuleni for a<br />

similar agreement.<br />

Project execution postponements. Rand Water has streamlined<br />

compliance and procurement procedures that have delayed<br />

execution of capital projects, maintenance, procurement of spares<br />

and emergencies such as plant breakdowns.<br />

Old infrastructure/plant capacity: Maximo is used for planned<br />

maintenance, repairs and refurbishments. Capex projects are<br />

executed on a five-year business plan cycle. A 600Ml/d plant will<br />

be commissioned early in 2024 to increase the capacity of the<br />

Zuikerbosch plant.<br />


Treatment of raw water must be done to the highest standards for<br />

safety reasons. Rand Water has two water treatment plants (WTP)<br />

that are situated in Emfuleni Local Municipality (ELM). The<br />

plants are the Zuikerbosch Water Treatment Plant (ZWTP) and the<br />

Vereeniging Water Treatment Plant (VWTP).<br />

Raw water is abstracted from the upper part of the Vaal River<br />

and pumped to the VWTP for purification. Raw water is also<br />

abstracted from the Vaal Dam and transferred to the ZWTP<br />

for purification purposes. The same process of purification<br />

is followed at the two plants. The raw water is transferred to<br />

the ZWTP through a canal. It is then processed through the<br />

screens to catch any visible dirt such as leaves, tree branches or<br />

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water delivery<br />

S<br />

any other undesirable objects that have the potential to obstruct<br />

the process.<br />

Turbidity is the measure of dirt contamination in water. When<br />

water is received from the Vaal Dam, it can have a turbidity of 60<br />

Nephelometric Turbidity Unit (NTU), a low figure, or 160 NTU,<br />

a very high figure. The higher turbidity requires the use of more<br />

chemicals to ensure that the water is purified to meet the SANS<br />

241 Standards. Rand Water purifies water to below 0.5 NTU against<br />

the South African National Standards (SANS) of 1 NTU. SANS is<br />

the South African Standard for measuring acceptable water quality<br />

for consumption. The 0.5 NTU is a stricter standard used by the<br />

World Health Organization (WHO). The treatment process consists<br />

of seven stages, namely: coagulation, flocculation, sedimentation,<br />

carbonation, filtration, chlorination and pumping.<br />

Coagulation is the mixing of water with crushed lime to produce<br />

liquid lime. This is done to destroy bacteria and/or algae to stabilise<br />

water. The flocculator mixes water and milk of lime at high energy so<br />

that solids form clusters or flocs. In this process the particles attract<br />

each other to form visible flocs floating on top of the water. The<br />

flocculator has a spiral shape so that it can circulate water first at<br />

high energy, gradually slowing down as the spiral flocculator widens<br />

in diameter and the flocs formulated sink to the floor when entering<br />

the sedimentation tank.<br />

Sludge is formed when the sedimentation tank draws the flocs<br />

down to settle at the bottom of the tank. The clean water still on top<br />

of the tank drains through the launders into the flume so that it<br />

flows to the carbonation bay. The bridges on the sedimentation tank<br />

drain the sludge from the bottom of the sedimentation tank which<br />

is eventually pumped to the drying beds in the Panfontein sludge<br />

plant. The clean water is then gravitated through carbonation bays<br />

to the Filter House.<br />

At the carbonation bay, carbon dioxide (CO 2<br />

) is added to water<br />

from the sedimentation tank to reduce pH to 8.6 for safe drinking<br />

water. The next stage is the filtration process.<br />

At the Filter House water is passed through fine sand in a<br />

slow process that can take two hours. The process of filtration<br />

is designed to capture small living organisms. The Filter House<br />

is kept dark to prevent the growth of algae. At this stage the<br />

turbidity is at 0.5 NTU or below.<br />

The Chlorine House hosts the next stage. The chlorine cylinders<br />

containing liquid chlorine and gas chlorine at the top of the cylinder<br />

are used for disinfection. This stage is designed to kill germs that may<br />

be invisible and may have escaped the purification process. Pumping<br />

of potable water in the Engine Rooms signals the final process. Water<br />

is pumped to an elevation of 380 metres to reach Rand Water’s four<br />

booster stations. These are the Eikenhof, Zwartkopjes, Palmiet and<br />

Mapleton Pumping Stations.<br />

Water quality is measured by monitoring water quality<br />

determinants. Over and above the online monitoring system, twohourly<br />

samples are taken 24 hours a day to monitor the accuracy<br />

of the online instruments calibration. Each Rand Water site has<br />

its own site laboratories and oversees the online monitoring<br />

system. The sites monitor mainly four elements, that is: turbidly,<br />

chlorine, calcium carbonate precipitation potential (CCPP) and<br />

pH. A laboratory within the Scientific <strong>Service</strong>s Division, which<br />

is independent from Operations, monitors various water quality<br />


Africa’s biggest bulk water utility meets and exceeds exacting<br />

standards. Rand Water provides bulk potable water to more<br />

than 11-million people in the South African provinces of<br />

Gauteng, Mpumalanga, the Free State and North West – an<br />

area that stretches over 18 000km 2 . Rand Water customers<br />

include metropolitan municipalities, local municipalities, mines<br />

and large industries. Rand Water has a global reputation for<br />

providing water of high quality that ranks among the best in the<br />

world and consistently meets and exceeds national standards<br />

and international guidelines on water quality. The strategic<br />

objectives of Rand Water include achieving growth, operational<br />

integrity and a culture of high-performance. Rand Water uses<br />

best-fit technology and positively engages with its stakeholder<br />

base to maintain financial health and sustainability.<br />

The Filter House at Zuikerbosch.<br />

determinants to cross check data from Operations and monitor<br />

water quality at the tap. This demanding purification process is<br />

conducted to make sure that Rand Water supplies its customers<br />

with drinking water of world-class quality.<br />


Rand Water does not receive any subsidy from the national<br />

government. Funding is derived purely by the water it sells.<br />

The client base is primarily municipalities and it is at that level<br />

that water losses can be reduced. Through sensible measures,<br />

cooperation and awareness, a situation can be reached where<br />

reasonable water tariffs are charged across the board. This will<br />

create satisfied customers and consumers and contribute to water<br />

security for South Africa. S<br />

Contact<br />

Tel: +27 11 6<strong>82</strong> 0911<br />

Customer <strong>Service</strong> Centre: 0860 10 10 60<br />

Email: customerservice@randwater.co.za<br />

Website: www.randwater.co.za<br />

<strong>Service</strong> magazine | 27

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waste<br />

The national waste<br />

management strategy<br />

How a country manages its waste is a fundamental indicator of the extent to which<br />

that society is functional and being managed in a sustainable manner.<br />

T<br />

The implementation of the National Waste<br />

Management Strategy must have a positive<br />

impact on the lives of all South Africans<br />

through shared socio-economic growth<br />

and development, says Minister of Forestry,<br />

Fisheries and the Environment.<br />

The 2020 strategy is an update of the<br />

2011 strategy and builds on the successes<br />

and lessons from the implementation of that<br />

strategy. The National Waste Management<br />

Strategy (NWMS) provides government<br />

policy and strategic interventions for the<br />

waste sector and is aligned and responsive to<br />

the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)<br />

of Agenda 2030 adopted by all United<br />

Nations member states. It is also responsive<br />

to South Africa’s National Development<br />

Plan: Vision 2030, which is our country’s<br />

specific response to and integration of<br />

the SDGs into our overall socio-economic<br />

development plans.<br />

The NWMS 2020 addresses the challenges<br />

and gaps identified in the 2011 strategy.<br />

Given that this strategy was developed at<br />

the onset of the sixth term of democratic<br />

administration in the country, its revision<br />

has also taken into account the national<br />

and Medium-Term Strategic Framework<br />

(MTSF) priorities outlined for the five years<br />

comprising the term of administration.<br />

Most importantly, the 2020 strategy<br />

has the concept of a “circular economy”<br />

at its centre. The circular economy is an<br />

approach to minimising the environmental<br />

impact of economic activity by reusing and<br />

recycling processed materials to minimise<br />

(a) the need to extract raw materials from<br />

the environment and (b) the need to<br />

dispose of waste.<br />

The circular economy is built on<br />

innovation and the adoption of new<br />

approaches and techniques in product<br />

design, production, packaging and use –<br />

industrial symbiosis, for instance, is a way of<br />

preventing waste in industrial production<br />

by redirecting waste from one production<br />

process to serve as raw materials for another<br />

production process.<br />

In line with the outcome-based planning<br />

approach of government, the strategy is<br />

premised on three pillars which will see<br />

a future South Africa with zero waste in<br />

landfills, cleaner communities, well-managed<br />

and financially stable waste services as well<br />

as a culture of zero tolerance of pollution,<br />

litter and illegal dumping.<br />

The government priorities will be achieved<br />

through waste minimisation; effective<br />

and sustainable waste services as well as<br />

compliance, enforcement and awareness.<br />

Collectively, the outcomes, strategic pillars,<br />

interventions and actions consolidate and<br />

build on the eight overarching goals of the<br />

2011 strategy.<br />


1. Addressing the role of vulnerable<br />

groups, waste pickers and the informal<br />

sector and supporting women, youth<br />

and people living with disabilities in the<br />

circular economy.<br />

2. Promoting approaches to the design<br />

of products and packaging that reduce<br />

waste or encourage reuse, repair and<br />

preparation for recycling as well as<br />

support markets for source-separated<br />

recyclables.<br />

3. Investigating potential regulatory or<br />

economic interventions to increase<br />

participation rates in residential<br />

separation at source programmes.<br />

4. Investing in the economies associated<br />

with transporting recyclables to waste<br />

processing facilities.<br />

5. Addressing the skills gap within the<br />

sector with a special focus on women,<br />

youth and people living with disabilities.<br />

6. Engagement with the National Treasury<br />

regarding the operational expenditures<br />

for municipalities associated with<br />

implementing the NWMS and the<br />

Waste Act.<br />

Additionally, the NWMS 2020 provides<br />

an enabling environment for the projects<br />

identified in the 2017 Operation Phakisa<br />

Chemicals and Waste Economy (CWE).<br />

The CWE, as part of a cross-sector<br />

national planning process, intended to<br />

identify and support the implementation<br />

of projects in each sector of the economy<br />

that will contribute to national goals for<br />

sustainable economic growth, job creation<br />

and social transformation.<br />

The strategy comes at a time when<br />

there is growing knowledge and awareness<br />

of the environmental consequences of<br />

human activity in relation to climate and<br />

environmental pollution. The widespread<br />

impact of plastic packaging on our coasts,<br />

rivers and wetlands is a cause for great<br />

concern. The NWMS 2020 outlines a<br />

strategic approach to reduce littering<br />

and illegal dumping, and to reduce the<br />

production of single-use plastics such<br />

as food wrappers, disposable cups and<br />

straws that are currently destroying our<br />

marine habitats.<br />

Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and<br />

the Environment, Barbara Creecy.<br />

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waste<br />

S<br />

The Stellenbosch Network Smart Township #Ideasforchange challenge is<br />

an ideation competition on the hunt for new solutions to help transform<br />

Kayamandi into South Africa’s first smart township.<br />


By Cebelihle Mthethwa<br />

The success of the NWMS 2020 depends on<br />

the extent to which it finds a foothold in local<br />

and provincial government and the private<br />

sector. But the government and business<br />

can’t solve the problems with waste on their<br />

own. Increasing recycling rates to promote<br />

the circular economy depends on consumer<br />

behaviour change, such as separating waste<br />

at source – something which all South<br />

Africans should be practising.<br />

The revised NWMS seeks to build on<br />

existing initiatives in schools and draw<br />

on community-based organisations<br />

and NGOs to help in cleaning up our<br />

communities and reducing the carbon<br />

footprint of our economy by correct<br />

disposal and recycling of waste.<br />

The Department of Forestry, Fisheries<br />

and the Environment, (DFFE) looks<br />

forward to working with you in taking<br />

forward the goals of this important<br />

national strategy for waste management<br />

which is promoting the waste hierarchy<br />

and the circular economy principles. S<br />

The challenge was born from the partnership with various stakeholders,<br />

including Lunttu, which is an initiative by Wesley Diphoko, who grew up in Kayamandi<br />

and sees technology and digital skills as a catalyst to transform the township into an<br />

inclusive micro-economy just like the newest winners of the challenge.<br />

Chuma Lalendle and Sbahle Mgijima walked away with the R20 000 cash prize<br />

following the introduction of their Smart Trolley Recycling solution to minimise the<br />

overflow of landfills and encourage a recycling culture in Kayamandi. With such<br />

immense volumes of waste arising, with landfills being the most popular end-resort,<br />

the need for authorities to provide adequate waste treatment and disposal services<br />

has become ever more important.<br />

It’s difficult to be ignorant in seeing the<br />

backward system that we grow up in.<br />

“Being born and raised in Kayamandi at some point, we, as the youth – the future<br />

leaders – need to take the initiative. If there is an opportunity for us to step up and make<br />

the change that we want to see, then we should grab it and run with it,” says Mgijima.<br />

According to Lalendle, the two met at a Smart Kayamandi workshop, hosted by<br />

Stellenbosch Network and Lunttu, and with their passion for sustainable community<br />

projects, the two came up with Smart Trolley Recycling.<br />

Lalendle notes: “Through a needs-assessment and observation, we have discovered<br />

that the system of waste pickers is rather informal, and the physical labour is<br />

strenuous and tedious. The aim is to formalise it by creating a product whereby<br />

the Smart Trolley functions independently, making the whole process a much more<br />

pleasant experience for waste pickers. The idea is to improve the collection process<br />

of waste pickers in Kayamandi and get the community involved in recycling to foster<br />

a responsible green community.”<br />

The project has three beneficiaries: the waste collectors that go into household bins<br />

before the municipal waste removal arrives, the households within Kayamandi and<br />

the Stellenbosch Municipality.<br />

Although the bright-eyed entrepreneurs have a promising vision for Kayamandi, they<br />

are also wary of the milestones they must reach regarding getting the municipality’s<br />

buy-in, as the project aims to incentivise households that adhere to the culture of<br />

recycling. These envisioned incentives will compromise of electricity units, data,<br />

coffee vouchers etc.<br />

Lalendle and Mgijima add that technology will play a pivotal role in the inception of<br />

their project, as the Smart Trolley is created based on technology, using tech advances<br />

to create an efficient trolley. The trolley will include a power assist function, to enable<br />

efficiency when the primary stakeholders (waste collectors) push the waste, and it will<br />

have compartments, to sort the different types of waste. The team wanted to better<br />

enable people already in the waste collection system through innovation and technology.<br />

“The Stellenbosch Network has done exceptional work in spreading the word about<br />

our innovative idea to the rest of Stellenbosch. Our next step is to focus on getting<br />

funding to further our dream of making Kayamandi a Smart Township,” Lalendle and<br />

Mgijima conclude.<br />

<strong>Service</strong> magazine | 29

S<br />

skills development<br />

Learnerships: a business hack<br />

for SA companies<br />

Economic growth in South Africa is desperately needed, but this requires job creation and skills development to<br />

meet our current and future needs. One of the most effective ways to achieve this is through learnerships.<br />

By Daniel Orelowitz, managing director at Training Force<br />

A<br />

An integrated skills development intervention, learnerships are<br />

aimed at promoting growth in employment and facilitating capacity<br />

building across sectors to address scarce and critical skills shortages.<br />

Learnerships are attractive for businesses since a Broad-Based<br />

Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) score and tax benefits<br />

are available; however, managing these programmes can be a<br />

massive undertaking. Here, it is advisable for companies to partner<br />

with an accredited training provider to sidestep the system while<br />

gaining all the B-BBEE and tax benefits with none of the associated<br />

administrative and compliance burdens.<br />

In short, outsourcing their learnership programmes is the<br />

business hack every company needs to embrace in 2023.<br />


Currently managed by the Sector Education and Training<br />

Authorities (SETAs), learnerships are directly related to occupations<br />

and roles. They provide a pathway that leads individuals through to<br />

accredited National Qualifications Framework (NQF) qualifications.<br />

Learnerships ensure that more people are trained for a specific<br />

working environment and businesses benefit from having a more<br />

skilled and experienced workforce.<br />

Through such skills development programmes, learners are<br />

now able to further their education while employers contribute<br />

to the establishment of a pool of skilled labour that can either<br />

be absorbed permanently into their organisations or redirected<br />

to be of benefit elsewhere in the industry.<br />

In a format that combines structured learning with hands-on<br />

work experience, learnerships are key to ensuring that individuals<br />

are equipped with the theoretical knowledge necessary to work in<br />

their field and the practical know-how necessary to secure a job in<br />

that field. As attractive as the business benefits of learnerships may<br />

be, companies generally must source eligible candidates and have<br />

them vetted and onboarded, all of which direct time and resources<br />

from other core functions of the organisation.<br />


An experienced training provider can step in here and take on the<br />

recruitment, enrolment and management of the right candidates for<br />

the company’s learnerships. As training and employee development<br />

specialists, it is their core business to help their clients align with<br />

the requirements of learnership programmes, such as the Youth<br />

Employment <strong>Service</strong> (YES) programme.<br />

This learnership programme provides the company with exceptional<br />

B-BBEE benefits, while greatly assisting to close the skills gap in the<br />


CHIETA, the chemical industry’s education and training authority,<br />

embarked on the implementation of a pilot project: blended<br />

learning approach through a coded welding skills programme<br />

that explored face-to-face, online, welding simulation and<br />

practical learning in line with technology’s trajectory worldwide.<br />

The pilot project accommodated 115 students at six TVET<br />

colleges in four provinces and is part of CHIETA’s ongoing drive<br />

to embrace the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). Yershen Pillay,<br />

CHIETA’s CEO, says the blended learning approach is also an<br />

indirect response to an instruction from the Department of Higher<br />

Education, Science and Innovation for SETAs to revise their<br />

skills development initiatives.<br />

Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation<br />

Buti Manamela states that the challenges presented by the<br />

pandemic created opportunities for training service providers<br />

to accelerate digital-based skills development strategies.<br />

These strategies were envisioned to re-skill, trans-skill and<br />

up-skill large numbers of workers to take up opportunities within<br />

existing enterprises or start new businesses and co-operatives.<br />

Manamela explains that the project provides the TVET colleges<br />

with the opportunity to improve the quality of their training, while<br />

also ensuring that recommendations on the implementation of a<br />

blended learning approach can be developed within the sector<br />

going forward.<br />

“From the lessons learnt by the TVET colleges through the<br />

blended learning approach, we will be in a stronger position to<br />

establish best practices that advance job creation and boost the<br />

country’s economic prospects,” adds Manamela. CHIETA has<br />

explored wide-ranging new approaches in the digitisation of skills<br />

development, which included in-depth research into the status of<br />

e-learning and e-assessments.<br />

Pillay says, “The implementation of this pilot project is one<br />

of the recommendations of this research. Our programme’s<br />

comprehensive curriculum was developed with participation by<br />

several stakeholders and is registered with the Quality Council<br />

for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) and supported by the<br />

Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET),” Pillay<br />

adds. “This pilot project holds benefits for the participating TVET<br />

colleges, as well as for the wider skills development sector within<br />

our SETA’s sphere of operation,” he says.<br />

30 | <strong>Service</strong> magazine

skills development<br />

S<br />

From B-BBEE scores to tax<br />

incentives, there are several noticeable<br />

benefits when implementing<br />

learnerships in a business.<br />

youth market. An enterprise can participate in facilitating 12-month<br />

work experience programmes for unemployed youth by:<br />

1. Sponsoring and hosting youth within their business.<br />

2. Sponsoring placements elsewhere within an existing SME/<br />

supply chain.<br />

3. Providing hosting to the benefit of a new SME.<br />


From B-BBEE scores to tax incentives, there are several noticeable<br />

benefits when implementing learnerships in a business:<br />

• Contributing to skills development, job creation and economic<br />

growth, while boosting the company’s productivity and adding<br />

to its value through the employment of skilled, knowledgeable,<br />

competent employees.<br />

• Establishing a pool of properly-trained, experienced employees<br />

with critical skills to draw from gives the business a clear<br />

competitive edge in the industry.<br />

• Being committed to skills development positively impacts the<br />

company’s B-BBEE status, improving employment equity targets<br />

by enabling previously disadvantaged employees or unemployed<br />

individuals to upskill themselves and earn qualifications.<br />

• There are learnership tax incentives that allow employers to claim<br />

up to R120 000 per individual that completes their qualification,<br />

along with monthly employment tax incentives (ETI) for every<br />

employee hired between the ages of 18 and 29.<br />


Partnering with a training provider that specialises in youth<br />

development is the smartest business hack that ensures everyone<br />

benefits – the company gains the full tax and employment equity<br />

advantages of learnerships, while candidates achieve their full<br />

potential through the successful completion of such programmes. S<br />

Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Science and<br />

Innovation, Buti Manamela.<br />


GIBB, one of South Africa’s leading multi-disciplinary engineering<br />

consulting companies, has partnered with the government’s Youth<br />

Employment <strong>Service</strong> (YES) initiative to drive future employability<br />

among South Africa’s youth.<br />

Introduced in 2018, the YES initiative is a government and<br />

business-driven initiative that seeks to tackle South Africa’s<br />

youth unemployment crisis.“Many of the learners who are<br />

part of the initiative at GIBB don’t have prior work experience,”<br />

says Siphamandla Mahlaba, senior learning and development<br />

consultant at GIBB. “The programme will provide the students<br />

with an opportunity to gain valuable work experience that will<br />

make them more employable in the future, be it within GIBB if<br />

an opportunity arises or at future employers once their 12-month<br />

period with GIBB ends.”<br />

As it is the first year in which the company has participated<br />

in the initiative, GIBB advertised posts externally and in line<br />

with the criteria set by government and the needs within the<br />

business. With over 1 800 applications, selecting the right<br />

candidates for the programme was essential. While GIBB has<br />

a structured programme that the students follow during their<br />

tenure with the company, the YES initiative too has a detailed<br />

programme in place.<br />

The initiative provides students with tablets that are preloaded<br />

with a variety of online training tools to assist them<br />

in upskilling themselves and garnering soft skills such as<br />

emotional intelligence, communication and negotiation, among<br />

others. “From a GIBB perspective, our role focuses largely on<br />

how we can provide students with the necessary experience to<br />

make them as employable as possible after their time with the<br />

company,” says Mahlaba.<br />

The company treats the students as employees instead of<br />

merely as students, providing them with the same induction<br />

processes as they would any other employee and the necessary<br />

working tools such as a laptop and workstation. Apart from the<br />

valuable work experience gained in their respective business<br />

units and niches over their 12-month internship with GIBB,<br />

students will also walk away with insights on how to look for job<br />

opportunities, create a CV and how to conduct themselves in a<br />

business environment.<br />

YES student Sinqobile Chili is excited about the opportunities that<br />

lie ahead. “Although I have only been with the company for a few<br />

weeks, the experience I have gained at GIBB so far has already<br />

proven invaluable,” says Chili. “From creating relationships among<br />

my peers to understanding the inner workings of the company and<br />

how the various roles lead to its success, I am excited for what lies<br />

ahead during my time with GIBB and how the teachings will allow<br />

me to thrive in the future.”<br />

<strong>Service</strong> magazine | 31

S<br />

technology<br />

Digital transformation<br />

needs a new kind of leader<br />

AThere’s a temptation to consider digital transformation in terms of the technology that might need<br />

to be employed, but as with anything else, successful digital transformation is driven by the people<br />

in your organisation – the very people who will either adopt or resist the technology.<br />

And that means that digital transformation (DX) will require a<br />

particular kind of leadership. Human beings, by their very nature,<br />

are resistant to change. None of us likes being taken out of our<br />

comfort zone and put in a position where the way we’ve done<br />

something for decades is thrown into question.<br />

This means helping employees to imagine the future and<br />

accept that it’s possible, as well as managing their expectations<br />

along the way.<br />

For leaders, this will mean making difficult decisions and having<br />

the dreaded “courageous conversations” with employees who are<br />

trying to block change. It will mean identifying internal champions<br />

of the changes and empowering them to drive it forward. It may<br />

require bringing in external talent to boost the knowledge and<br />

skills internally. It will certainly require superb communication<br />

skills to ensure that change messaging reaches all the corners of<br />

the organisation and that employees are never left wondering<br />

what the next step is or how their lives will be affected. Most of<br />

all, however, it requires that the entire top structure is unified in<br />

owning the DX and models courage, enthusiasm and participation<br />

in the process, as well as a willingness to support those who require<br />

some additional bolstering. Leaders must understand that DX isn’t<br />

a once-off exercise or something that happens separately in its own<br />

silo. Rather, it is an integral part of your operations – every day and<br />

continuously. It must evolve with your enterprise and become part<br />

of the company’s current and future culture. To build this culture,<br />

leaders will have to do the following:<br />

Embrace curiosity. Instead of being afraid of novelty, learn to be<br />

curious about new things and investigate how you can create value<br />

for the organisation.<br />

Don’t confuse innovation with reinventing the wheel. Not everything<br />

requires that companies innovate from scratch. Instead, look at how www.bcx.co.za<br />

you can use existing tech where possible or copy it and only innovate<br />

for your organisation’s unique challenges.<br />

Be a pioneer. Look beyond your own industry for opportunities<br />

to create something new that can add extra value or even become a<br />

product or industry on its own.<br />

Remember that digital is not the outcome. It is a means to an<br />

end. See technology as an enabler of your core business processes<br />

and operations rather than being an end goal.<br />

Reinvent your approach to leadership. This journey is about a<br />

whole new way of being a leader and bringing your employees along<br />

with you. It is about so much more than just finding solutions to<br />

business requirements.<br />

Stay adaptable. This will require both flexibility and agility,<br />

because DX is a journey and things change fast.<br />

Understand every part of your company. This will help to ensure<br />

you select the right digital tools for your business.<br />

Remember that transformation is not easy. It requires serious<br />

effort. It means overcoming fears, shedding the past and pushing<br />

yourself and your employees towards something more. It may<br />

require that you all dig deep to make the changes you want. The<br />

changes will be spread across people, processes and technology,<br />

so be prepared for challenges like employee resistance, financial<br />

constraints and a lack of expertise in a variety of areas. However,<br />

the role of a leader is to lead by example, so leaders should ensure<br />

they learn about the new digital tools available, become au fait with<br />

them and encourage their employees to follow suit. With the right<br />

example, attitude, training and support, employees will be able to<br />

handle the transition and navigate both the change and the company<br />

into a bright new future. S<br />

32 | <strong>Service</strong> magazine

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