In what amounts to a significant policy shift, Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane has announced a water conference to be held at the end of November at which the private sector would be asked to participate in infrastructure investment amounting to at least R14bn. Water provision has mostly been the preserve of the government and local authorities. The main fear has been that if placed in commercial hands, costs will go up. Apart from a few small, privately operated water boards, SA’s water sector is dominated by large state-owned entities such as Rand Water, Umgeni Water and the Trans Caledon Tunnel Authority. The minister acknowledged that 27 district municipalities could not provide water and sanitation services. "Some of these municipalities do not have the capacity to plan properly. They are not viable. Some of them should just be shut down," she said. The private investment envisaged by the minister would include large bulk-water and sanitation schemes, municipal ...

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