Investigation into the role of the North–West Water Board in water service delivery management in municipalities : the case of Mafikeng Central District Municipality
Mafete, Lefora France
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This study is based on investigation into the role of the North West Water supply (which changed the name to Botshelo Water Board during the period of study in water service delivery management in municipalities. The case of Mafikeng Central District municipality. The major findings area as follows: In South Africa the role of regional water supply services providers, typically water boards, is changing. Historically they were established with the primary function of supplying large urban canters with bulk water. Their emphasis has thus been on developing and running large, technically complex systems. Most importantly they have generally been selling bulk water to financially strong municipalities. With the new imperative to rapidly increase the provision of water services to all South Africans, these regional services providers are facing new challenges of management integration and provision of 6 kl free basic water to poor of the poorest in our country. The South African White Paper on Water and Sanitation policy proposed that Local Authorities to take over the functions of water provision and sanitation services. There is an urgent need to co-ordinate local development needs and integrate them into optimal development and operation plans . at regional level which will take advantage for involving all parties affected. The Water Service Act of (1997) defines the roles for various parties involved in water service delivery and will have a profound impact on the relationship between the parties. The Act recommended that close working relationship between water boards and local authorities must be maintained. Chapter 3 of the Constitution describes Government in South Africa as consisting of National, Provincial and Municipal Spheres which are not only distinctive but also interdependent and interrelated. It provides that all spheres of Government and all · organs of State must trust and good faith by co-ordinating their actions and legislation with each other. Co-operative governance and integration are not only policy matters they are constitutionally mandated. The recommendation from this study is that, awareness campaign be made in the areas to encourage people to pay for services and take responsibility for meter reading on their own like it is happening in Denmark. In Denmark each household reads its own meters for both water and electricity and. submits the readings to the municipality for billing. As a result the municipality did not employ special meter readers thus saves on salaries. Greater resource allocation is made to cover the shortfalls experienced due to lack of management capacity and other resources that would enable Central District municipality to run the functions on their own. Capacity building and support for professionals be streamline on the current Botshelo Water staff for future absorption by municipality. Promotion of community based development be continued to encourage community ownership on water management functions. This could be done through the formation of water committees associations. While community-based approaches are now accepted as the norm, the necessary capacity to support them in most cases does not generally exist at higher levels (National, district and local) and central needs to look at this. If the municipal cannot handle these functions on its own, then joint venture, synergy, merger and acquisition of all affected institution be considered.