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Service Magazine Issue 82

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 />

DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION<br />

THE LEARNERSHIP HACK<br />

WATER, WATER NOWHERE<br />

PASA: ON THE UP AND UPSTREAM<br />

MAKING SMART DECISIONS<br />

CLLR ANDRÉ TRUTER, EXECUTIVE MAYOR,<br />

SALDANHA BAY MUNICIPALITY<br />

SOUTH AFRICA IN THE DARK


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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 />

SERVE AND DELIVER<br />

News and updates<br />

SOUTH AFRICA’S ENERGY CRISIS<br />

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

energy crisis<br />

LAUNCHING SALDANHA BAY INTO<br />

THE FUTURE<br />

Exciting new smart poles for the Saldanha<br />

Bay Municipality<br />

4<br />

EXPLORATIONS FOR SA<br />

PASA regulates oil and gas exploration for<br />

SA’s economic wellbeing<br />

6<br />

THE POWER OF UHURU<br />

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

Uhuru Development Projects<br />

9<br />

POWER CUTS PLAYING HAVOC<br />

WITH WATER<br />

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

by loadshedding<br />

10<br />

MUNICIPALITIES AND THE ENERGY<br />

SUPPLY GAP<br />

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

impact on its cities<br />

12<br />

WHEN CRISES COLLIDE<br />

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

14<br />

THE STATE OF OUR WATER<br />

Who does what with SA’s water<br />

17<br />

THE MODEL FOR WATER DELIVERY<br />

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

18<br />

NON-PAYMENT FOR WATER<br />

SERVICES<br />

The situation is reaching a crisis point<br />

20<br />

EFFICIENT WATER DELIVERY<br />

Rand Water gives advice on what<br />

municipalities can do to promote efficient<br />

water delivery<br />

22<br />

THE NATIONAL WASTE<br />

MANAGEMENT STRATEGY<br />

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

fundamental indicator of its society<br />

24 26<br />

LEARNERSHIPS: A HACK FOR<br />

SOUTH AFRICAN BUSINESS<br />

Economic growth and skills development<br />

can be achieved through learnerships<br />

DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION<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 />

Production: Yonella Ngaba | Ad sales: Venesia Fowler, Tennyson Naidoo, Graeme February, Tahlia Wyngaard and Vanessa Wallace<br />

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 />

Postal: PO Box 292, Newlands 7701 | Tel: +27 21 657 6200 | Email: info@gan.co.za | Website: www.gan.co.za<br />

No portion of this book may be reproduced without written consent of the copyright owner. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of<br />

<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 />

BENEFITS OF SD-WAN<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 />

SELECTING THE RIGHT<br />

SD-WAN PARTNER<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 />

SERVE AND DELIVER<br />

LOCAL GOVERNMENT FINANCE<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 />

AGGREGATE TRENDS<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 />

CONDITIONAL GRANTS<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 />

COCT ON TACKLING ENERGY CRISIS<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 />

PUBLIC SECTOR<br />

ONLINE THREATS<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 />

CALL FOR ACCELERATED SERVICE DELIVERY<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 />

ESKOM’S PERFORMANCE<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 />

CORRUPTION AND THEFT<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 />

RESTRUCTURING ESKOM<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 />

SOLAR POWER<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 />

NEW ELECTRICITY CAPACITY<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 />

NATIONAL STATE OF DISASTER<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 />

MINISTER OF ELECTRICITY IN THE PRESIDENCY<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 />

CLIMATE CHANGE<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 />

JUST ENERGY TRANSITION INVESTMENT PLAN<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 />

TRANSITIONING TO GAS<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 />

VALUE STATEMENT<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 />

HOW IT WORKS<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 />

SOME SOLUTIONS<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 />

MINISTER LAUNCHES LARGEST<br />

RESERVOIR IN THE COUNTRY<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 />

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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 />

A VICIOUS CYCLE<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 />

WHAT CITIES CAN DO<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 />

SA USES MORE WATER THAN IT HAS<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 />

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water<br />

S<br />

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 />

PIPES FOR JOBS<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 />

WATER IN A HOTTER WORLD<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 />

NATIONAL WATER AND<br />

SANITATION MASTERPLAN<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 />

NATIONAL WATER RESOURCES<br />

INFRASTRUCTURE AGENCY<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 />

DRINKING WATER<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 />

LESOTHO HIGHLANDS<br />

WATER PROJECT<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 />

PROVINCIAL PROJECTS<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 />

ENTITIES<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 />

OTHER ENTITIES<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 />

CONSTRUCTION OF DAMS<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 />

WATER-USE LICENCES<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 />

SYSTEM CONSTRAINTS<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 />

22 | <strong>Service</strong> magazine


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 />

CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR<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 />

A CHALLENGING ENVIRONMENT<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 />

UPWARD TREND<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 />

THREATS TO THE GOOD STORY<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 />

INFRASTRUCTURE EXPENDITURE CONTINUES<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


S<br />

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 />

HIGH CONSUMPTION CREATES SUPPLY BOTTLENECKS<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 />

INTERRUPTION FACTORS<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 />

TREATING FOR SAFETY<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 />

26 | <strong>Service</strong> magazine


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 />

ABOUT RAND WATER<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 />

CONCLUSION<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


S<br />

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 />

SIGNIFICANT SHIFTS<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 />

28 | <strong>Service</strong> magazine


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 />

THE SMART TOWNSHIP CHALLENGE 2023<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 />

WHAT IS THE BIG DEAL ABOUT LEARNERSHIPS?<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 />

DEVELOPING ESSENTIAL SKILLS<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 />

HIGHER EDUCATION LAUNCHES BLENDED LEARNING<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 />

HOW DO LEARNERSHIPS BENEFIT EMPLOYERS?<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 />

AN ALL-ROUND WIN-WIN<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 />

DRIVING EMPLOYABILITY AMONG SA’S YOUTH<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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