In an effort to ensure the involvement of stakeholders in the management of water resources, the Department of Water and Sanitation is expected to launch four catchment management agencies (CMAs).

They will be launched during the Water Institute of Southern Africa (WISA) conference set to take place in Durban this week.

The establishment of the catchment management agencies is in line with the provisions of the National Water Act (NWA) and the National Water Policy for South Africa.

The purpose of catchment management agencies is to enhance decentralised decision-making in managing water resources, in an integrated manner, at a local level.

The department said the CMAs will ensure participative management, good water governance and integrated planning and improving co-operative governance of the country’s water resources, in order to achieve the objectives of the National Water Act, equity, accessibility and government’s commitments to improving service delivery.

“A CMA manages all the water resources in a water management area at the catchment level. This means that a CMA is responsible for the protection, use, development, conservation, management and control of all the water resources in that particular water management area (WMA).

“This responsibility requires that all spheres of government, water users and communities in the water management area participate with CMAs as partners,” the department said in a statement.

Water and Sanitation Minister, Senzo Mchunu, finalised the appointment of board members of the Pongolo–Umzimkhulu and the Vaal-Orange Catchment Management Agencies, a decision concurred by Cabinet.

The boards of Pongola-Umzimkhulu and Vaal-Orange CMAs appointments became effective from 1 December 2023.

The department has reconfigured the number of CMAs to six, including Limpopo-Olifants, Vaal-Orange, Pongola-Umzimkulu, Mzimvubu-Tsitsikamma, Breede-Olifants and Inkomati-Usuthu.

The boards, as the accounting authority, will operationalise the CMAs including developing the catchment management strategy, effective participation of stakeholders and management of water resources in the water management area.

“In addition, the CMA will be more responsive to water user needs and speedy decision-making around water resources management and create a customer-focused culture for water resources management,” the department explained.

The appointed board members for Pongolo–uMzimkhulu include Dr Thava Kelly (chairperson), Sibusiso Makhanya (deputy chairperson), Hlengiwe Ndlovu, Bhekumuzi Gumbi, Dr Lembi William Mngoma, Snenhlanhla Mngadi, Professor Purshottama Reddy, Mdandla Myeni, and Nokuthula Khanyile.

This CMA is an amalgamation of the previous WMA areas within the KwaZulu-Natal province, such as half of the Pongola-Usuthu WMA, the Thukela WMA, and the Mvoti-Mzimkulu WMA. Interim chief executive, Swaswa Ntlhoro, was appointed for the transitional phase.

The appointed board members for the Vaal-Orange CMA, which operates in the Central North-eastern part of South Africa and extends from Ermelo in Mpumalanga to Kuruman in the Northern Cape, include Desmond Solomon Fransman (chairperson), Tsakane Zwane (deputy chairperson), Hubert Thompson, Nontuthuzelo Njeza, Nakana Masoka, Ponatshego Mothibi, Doris Dondur, Dichikane Mashego, and Louis Van Oudtshoom. Interim chief executive, Solomon Mathebula, was appointed for the transitional phase.

“The Minister has finalised the appointment of board members of Mzimvubu-Tsitsikamma and awaiting concurrence by Cabinet. Interim chief executive, Sibusiso Mjwara, was appointed for the transitional phase. This agency’s footprint covers the majority of the Eastern Cape, and includes portions of KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape, and the Northern Cape.

“For the Limpopo-Olifants CMA, the advisory committee has concluded their recommendation for the appointment of the Board and is awaiting the vetting of candidates and concurrence by Cabinet,” the department said.

Water Institute of Southern Africa conference

Meanwhile, the three-day Water Institute of Southern Africa conference will take place at Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, from 12-14 June 2024.

WISA conferences provide a platform to discuss problems and solutions facing the water and related sectors. The conference is used to create mechanisms and collaborations, to ensure an enabling environment to set us on a path of implementation and impact.

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