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Water, sanitation & energy MMC Tiisetso Nketle. Picture: SUPPLIED/CITY OF EKURHULENI
Water, sanitation & energy MMC Tiisetso Nketle. Picture: SUPPLIED/CITY OF EKURHULENI

Municipalities are judged by their ability to deliver services of a high quality, consistently. The City of Ekurhuleni’s water & sanitation department sees itself as an enabler of business success and as pivotal to the city’s vision to become an economic hub of choice.

At a webinar held recently to engage with business, water & sanitation MMC Tiisetso Nketle echoed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s commitment to investing in infrastructure, noting that the quality of infrastructure directly affects economic growth potential and the ability of businesses to engage in profitable enterprise. The city adopted an ambitious programme to upgrade, replace and construct water infrastructure.

"Guaranteeing an uninterrupted supply, backed by healthy infrastructure and regular, speedy maintenance, makes a good business case for potential investors and businesses," said Nketle.

During the webinar, the City of Ekurhuleni’s water & sanitation head of department, Mduduzi Shabangu, showcased the city’s Aqua Leap projects. These include upgrades to water pipes, the extension of the water pipe system, construction of 35 new reservoirs and water pump stations, and upgrades, extensions and replacements on the sewer system.

Another important pillar is strengthening revenue collection. The city is doing this through the consolidation of bulk water meters. A number of large consumers are situated on multiple erfs and thus have more than one meter. Of the 22,360 active water meters registered to businesses, the city has targeted 12,543 properties, with more than 1,000 having been investigated and more than 500 completed. The expected completion date is June 2023.

"The aim of the city's consolidation is to provide accurate and easy meter reading to mitigate water loss and prevent financial losses," said Shabangu. This reduces the administrative burden on businesses of having to track several bills.

The city is also getting tough on producers of industrial effluent. Shabangu reported 90.59% compliance among registered effluent producers. "To get to 100% compliance, the city has intensified monitoring and is calling on companies to apply for and renew their permits to avoid penalties," said Shabangu.

Stakeholders in the water sector weighed in raising critical issues arising from Shabangu’s presentations.

The webinar was attended by 255 guests from various industries and who raised concerns around issues such as revenue collection, corporate governance, good management of infrastructure projects, the inclusion of small businesses in projects, securing infrastructure from theft and damage, and efficiencies with regard to maintenance, connection of new businesses and stakeholder relations.

In the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic and economic hardship, the city has a lot to do to show that it’s up to the task of providing consistent and quality services. Sustaining the momentum of its infrastructure rollout is crucial to building confidence.

View the webinar below:

This article was paid for by the City of Ekurhuleni.

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