19 May 2017

South Africa: Water and Sanitation Launches National Water and Sanitation Master Plan Dialogue

press release

DWS launches the National Water and Sanitation Master Plan Dialogue

The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) this morning launched the National Water and Sanitation Master Plan Dialogue at the CSIR International Convention Centre. The event was officiated over by Deputy Minister Pamela Tshwete and Director-General Dan Mashitisho.

In his welcoming address, DG Mashitisho referred to the inherent challenges in the supply of water and sanitation, from those of sustainability (asking the question: to which extent can we or can we not be able to deliver?), indicating that there cannot be life without water, aptly reiterating the DWS byline: Water is Life.

DG Mashitisho further mentioned that these questions need to be responded to through planning for security of supply, preservation and management of the resource. There still remains an issue of those still without access (the un-served), sharing water with animals and also using the bush and other undignified means for ablution.

"DWS officials need to understand their critical inputs in order to impact positively on all those requiring services and with unsatisfied needs. In the delivery of those services, there also needs to be consideration towards affordability, looking at who pays for what, whilst accommodating the indigent," DG said.

According to the DG, the Master Plan must also look into issues of governance and standards. The Dialogue must help us to manage the resource, systems, and the implementation of policies. Water and sanitation are now being taken seriously, with the recent hosting of the World Water Day in the country. It is true also that Africa is also taking water and sanitation seriously, thus the African Ministers' Council on Water, an advisory council of African Ministers to the AU Members' Heads of States and Governments on the matter.

In delivering the keynote address, Deputy Minister Tshwete made the observation that, "This Master Plan is about re-engineering the manner in which the water and sanitation business in South Africa is coordinated and guided. Working with all water sector partners we want to see a high level actionable plan, role-players, milestones and resources required towards achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. The genesis of this Master Plan would be a strong partnership with all stakeholders present here. It is about mobilising the entire water family to take the lead in their own spaces by selling this concept, collating relevant data on what needs to be done, and providing technical expertise into the task teams for strategic contributions.

"Our final product must be a product of meetings, consultations and workshops that we will undertake in the course of this year. Your support to this initiative should be underpinned by an Administrative Agreement with all major role-players. A coordinated implementation plan to ensure achievability is required with a clear Road Map of all key programmes, projects and actions necessary. We need to identify and define the essential enablers such as financing and institutional models, as well as its roll-out and monitoring plans. The Master Plan will rely on the existing and new projects for implementation, and where necessary additional projects to fill the gaps in water and sanitation service delivery. It aims to mould existing and possible future work into a cohesive integrated approach, supporting enabling components to make it possible".

This Master Plan process is also underpinned by collaboration with the Netherlands, as the country was represented by its Deputy Ambassador, Jan Huesken. He indicated that the sector in South Africa faces critical and evolving challenges. His input also indicated that the Netherlands had a history of partnership within its sector, premised upon looking into water threats, initially purely for survival as the Netherlands is mainly below the water table.

"The global challenges of population growth and climate change need answers; funding is never sufficient. It cannot only be about the role of government; all affected and interested parties must have clear mandates, with clear communication channels between partners. All partners must be kept informed and be active", Deputy Ambassador said.

The next step involves taking the Master Plan into the provinces. The ultimate need is to sensitise all South Africans of the process, garnering inputs and views of stakeholders to support and participate in the development of the Plan. It is also to inform and raise hopes of the country that there is work towards improving effectiveness and efficiency in the delivery of water and sanitation.

Issued by: Department of Water and Sanitation

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