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Compiled by Jarryd Westerdale

Digital Journalist

City of Tshwane signs ambitious agreement with national department to solve water issues

New plan focuses on pollution, water treatment plants and the development of a workforce that provides innovative solutions.

National and municipal entities are set to collaborate to solve the City of Tshwane’s (CoT) water and sanitation problems.

The municipality that serves the nation’s capital has seen bulk water supply issues and an abnormal volume of leaks in 2024, adding to cholera cases in 2023, which originated from the municipality’s Rooiwal Waste Water Works.

Setting a tone for the future, Dr Risimati Mathye from the National Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the CoT’s Johann Mettler on 10 June.

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The new initiative involves improvements to infrastructure, training, skills development and advanced planning to put the water challenges in the rear view mirror.

Among the top priorities is the pollution of the Hennops River pollution, the Rooiwal treatment plant and inadequate human resources.

“We are pleased by the will and zeal that has been shown by the city in ensuring collaborative efforts and allow us to work together in different spheres of government to ensure efficient services to the residents of Tshwane,” stated Dr Mathye.

Investing in young engineers

The highlight of the MoU is the implementation of an engineering candidacy development programme which will see candidate and professional engineers deployed to the CoT in various capacities.

Additionally, the DWS will offer free mentorship for engineers to obtain their professional registration with the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA).

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“Once implemented successfully, the programme will assist the city in complying with the new ECSA Identification of Engineering Work Regulations,” stated the DWS.

Key areas of collaboration in MoU

The partnership solidifies efforts by government departments to work together for the provision of services and the development of society.

Here is a full list of focus areas:

• Water resource planning and infrastructure solutions in line with the city’s Climate Action Plan.
• Infrastructure planning and development.
• Collaboration on water and sanitation-related programmes.
• Sustainable Development Goal 6 − Clean Water and Sanitation.
• Training and capacity building including secondment of staff between the parties.
• Education and awareness campaigns.
• Knowledge-sharing.
• Benchmarking of programmes like Green Drop, Blue Drop, No Drop.
• Joint enforcement programmes for water pollution prevention.
• Exploration of alternative water and sanitation technologies with DWS and its entities.
• Key bulk infrastructure in line with the Metropolitan Spatial Development Framework and Regionalised Spatial Development Framework.
• Any other additional area that the parties may agree to collaborate on in future.