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Debate Speech by Deputy Minister of Water and Sanitation Mrs Pamela Tshwete on the occasion of the Budget Vote Debate at the National Assembly, Parliament, Cape Town, 22 May 2018

Honourable Chairperson

Minister for Water and Sanitation, Minister Gugile Nkwinti

Ministers and Deputy Ministers

Ambassadors

Chairperson and Members of the Portfolio Committee

Water Sector Partners

Government Officials

Members of the Diplomatic Core

All our Sector Strategic Partners

Ladies and Gentlemen

Iindwendwe Zethu Zonke

Molweni

Introduction

The Minister of Water and Sanitation Hon. Gugile Nkwinti has just presented the 2018 / 2019 budget of the Department to the nation.

I stand here as the Deputy Minister, taking cue from the clear vision, plans and strategies aligned to this budget presented here today. We further would like to take South Africans in our confidence and assure them, that we will implement, monitor and evaluate programmes and projects to sustain the plans as we promise today.

We are tabling this Budget Vote for service delivery to our people in dedication to our inspirational struggle hero and heroine of our times, Comrade Nelson Mandela and Mama Albertina Sisulu. We owe them the assurance that we will continue to change the lives of our people through service delivery, in this instance provision of Water and Sanitation to all our people, leaving no one behind.

Honourable Chairperson, the figures tabled here today support the plans that the Minister spoke to, making the budget an enabler to achieve the vision of the Department through expansion of services to the previously disadvantaged, whilst exercising financial prudency. This will be done in support of socio-economic programmes and job creation.

Honourable Chairperson, allow me to take you back to the establishment of the Department of Water and Sanitation, as proclaimed in 2014, which required a long term plan that will provide an integrated model to roll-out the Water and Sanitation services. The response to this, was the National Water and Sanitation Master Plan.

I am therefore glad to report the great progress achieved on this front, which Minister Nkwinti signed off to serve at Cabinet tomorrow, on the 23rd May 2018. We hope for your support in this regard. It is our belief that this Master-Plan will contribute to improved service delivery in line with the Constitution, the National Development Plan and the achievement of Agenda 2030 of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Department of Water and Sanitation has made progress in advancing the role of women in the sector through the Mentorship Programme, which successfully meets the needs of the beneficiaries through a strict tailored programme that transfers experience, knowledge, skills on time and required standards. This programme will continue to assist the department to achieve the socio-economic transformation that we aspire for.

2018 will be no different in terms of the awarding of the Department of Water and Sanitation bursaries. These bursaries are afforded to internal deserving employees and tertiary students who pursue studies in the fields of Water and Sanitation. Further this bursary programme will continue to skill and retain required capacity in the key strategic programmes and different streams, ensuring excellence and experience as part of the career pathing strategy of the department.

The learning academy in the department has an intake of 40 learners in 22 universities across the country. We also have 8 interns and 44 graduate trainees who are mentored by technical managers within the department.

We have now recruited 10 000 learners for training on combating water leaks in communities, today I would want to report that the first phase of learners will be completing their training in September in the current financial year, while we are continuing with second phase of the programme.

Chairperson, let me further report that the Minister gave a new vision on how the department will continue into the third phase, working with municipalities as part of the broader built, operate, train and transfer programme within the department's infrastructure branch.

I am proud to announce that five of our learners who completed their artisan training are now employed; 4 at ERWAT in Benoni and one female plumber is employed as a facilitator at the Olifantsfontein Artisan Academy. I therefore call upon our municipalities and government departments targeted as beneficiaries of this project to start preparing to absorb these artisans and address their water loss challenges.

I would also like to acknowledge work done with the Public-Private sector partners. The Department appreciates the continued positive response of our institution in this regard.

Chairperson, our Motto as a sector remains unchanged, "Water is Life and Sanitation is dignity". It is on this note that we continue with our commitment to restore the dignity of our people through our Sanitation Programme. To improve on this front, we will continue to work with our sister Department of Science and Technology, Department of Trade and Industry, the Water Research Commission (WRC) and the private sector both local and global to develop and test the next generation toilets.

On the progress in this regard, I am happy to report that, of the 52 249 buckets in the formal settlements that were to be eradicated, 41 248 buckets have been eradicated. The remaining 11 001 is still work in progress with a budget of R1 billion that has been allocated under Estimated National Expenditure for the current 2018/19 financial year. The focus will be on the Free State and Northern Cape Provinces.

South Africa has been bestowed the responsibility to chair the Southern African Development Community (SADC) since 2017. Following this, the Department of Water and Sanitation will convene the SADC meeting of Ministers responsible for water in this calendar year. The main aim is to review progress on water and sanitation programme in the region and further explore programmes supporting the Nexus approach to climate resilience.

This year South Africa and Swaziland celebrated 25 years of the Komati Basin Water Authority partnership of good practice on water co-operation and joint planning.

South Africa is also assisting Namibia to mitigate the impact of drought which affected the agriculture and food production in the country's southern region.

Our global relations with countries in the South and North demonstrate huge benefits for the water sector on exchange of technical expertise, information sharing, technology transfer, technical programmes, policy benchmark and multi-lateral partnerships. This we do with countries that include Netherlands, Denmark, Cuba, Sweden, Japan, China, Belgium, Iran, Italy and Spain. Some of these embassies are represented here today.

The partnerships with these countries yielded real mutual and beneficial outcomes.

4 young people benefitted from the South Africa/Japan relationship where they were trained through the Japan International Co-Operation Agency. They trained and qualified in Masters Degrees, 3 specialising in Engineering and 1 in International Relations. Some of these beneficiaries are here with us in the gallery, I would kindly like to request them to stand up as a way of acknowledging this good diplomatic collaboration.

Another important multilateral platform that provides good opportunities for future water sector engineers, entrepreneurs and researchers to benchmark the good skills against their peers internationally is hosted by the Stockholm International Water Institute in Sweden. This event takes place annually following a series of inter-provincial competitions where the best team representing the country gets to showcase a winning project that provides a solution in the water sector, at that level.

Chairperson, we are humbled by the two great gestures that were extended to us as a country. Being a member of the High Level Panel on Water (HLPW) and now invited to serve on the Steering committee of the United Nations Water Decade.

We cannot miss this opportunity as a country, as we believe in leadership at the highest political level, to usher in policies that support a more sustainable use of water and mobilise national and regional commitment for the implementation and achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 6 on Water and Sanitation.

In conclusion

I would like to acknowledge and thank the good work that MTN did over the years in partnership with the department. Let me further invite the rest of the private sector and multi-national companies to partner with us particularly with the uplifting of learners in the rural areas by providing them with equal access to information and technology similar to their peers in urban areas.

Honourable Chairperson; allow me to thank the Minister for the vision and leadership provided to the Department and the sector. Further, I wish to join the Minister in thanking our entire stakeholders, entities, diplomatic corps and the private sector for the work that we continue to do together.

Sibulela uluntu ngokulondoloza amanzi ngexesha sithwaxwa yimbalela. Sicela iimvaba ngee-mvaba zakwa lizwi zithi gqolo uthandaza, zithandazela imvula. Sikwacela nezanuse zakwantu zicamagushe kwizinyanya zisicelele imvula.

Enkosi!

     
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