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A key Strategic Objective of uMngeni-uThukela Water is to increase customer and stakeholder value, understanding and support, as well as ensure that relationships developed remain constructive. In order to achieve this, structured and regular engagements with stakeholders take place consistently. Stakeholder engagements are undertaken by uMngeni-uThukela Water’s Board, management and officials, and occur with individuals and organisations that are impacted on, affected or may have an interest in the core functions of the organisation.

As a reflection of the seriousness with which uMngeni-uThukela Water regards stakeholder engagement and cordial relations, stakeholders have been categorised into four groups. These groups are: Statutory, Strategic, Contracted and Non-Contracted. Some engagements are mandatory as they are requirements of the Water Services Act No 108 of 1997 and the Municipal Finance Management Act 56 of 2003 and contractual obligations as per bulk supply agreements with municipal customers. All stakeholder engagements are in line with uMngeni-uThukela Water’s Integrated Stakeholder Management Strategy.

During the financial year under review, two significant incidents occurred that required the activation of crisis communication and engagement through various forums, including media and structured meetings with the Minister of Water and Sanitation, the Deputy Minister of Water and Sanitation, the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, the political leadership of eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality and officials of various municipalities. The incidents were:

1. Failure of a shaft pump at the Durban Heights Water Works (WW) that transfers raw water from Nagle Dam to the Durban Heights WW and resultant raw water shortage. At that time, Aqueduct 4 had been temporarily decommissioned awaiting repairs to a leak and the onsite Reservoir 3 was also decommissioned as work was being done on its roof soffit and later the concrete fl oor slab and internal lining had to be rehabilitated and external waterproofi ng done as additional work to the original scope. The work on Reservoir 3 was essential and safety related, as identified in a fiveyearly dam safety inspection on Reservoir 3 that revealed that some safety and stability-related components required further investigation and rehabilitation.

2. Extensive damage to bulk raw water transfer systems, Aqueduct 1 and Aqueduct 2, in the April 2022 floods. These aqueducts are among two other aqueducts that transport water from Nagle Dam to the Durban Heights Water Works. They were and remain decommissioned as repair on full restoration is being undertaken. The consequence of decommissioning has been a shortfall in raw water and accompanying reduced production of potable water. This has meant that in the poststrorm period uMngeni-uThukela Water has not been able to supply eThekwini Metro full contracted volumes of potable water. Despite the setbacks in (1) and (2) above, uMngeni-uThukela Water was able to continue business operations and reduced a significant potable water supply defi cit over the months following the torrential April rains. The current shortfall is, on average, 40 megalitres per day. On some occasions, full contracted volumes were supplied to eThekwini Metro.

This was made possible through the use of the fourth shaft pump at the Durban Heights WW and additional water being transported through aqueducts 3 and 4. An outcome of Ministerial participation in discussions was the formation of a War Room, which is represented by the Department of Water and Sanitation, uMngeni-uThukela Water and eThekwini Metro. The War Room has been mandated by the Minister to receive reports about progress towards full restoration of damaged infrastructure and to report back to the Minister on this. A similar War Room was established in the last days of the fi nancial year under review to accelerate resolution of water and sanitation challenges in the Ugu District.

Other pre-arranged engagements continued with other stakeholders during the period under review. These were meetings with the Planning Commission (KwaZulu-Natal); Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Pietermaritzburg-Midlands Chamber of Business; the Ingonyama Trust Board; other municipal customers of uMngeni-uThukela Water; the Department of Water and Sanitation; the National Assembly Portfolio Committee with oversight on Water and Sanitation; the National Treasury; the South African Local Government Association (SALGA), and the Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority (TCTA) where numerous strategic focus areas were discussed, including:

  • The appraisal of strategy, corporate plan implementation and performance indicators as per Shareholder Compact;
  • The delivery of uMngeni-uThukela Water’s audited annual performance results;
  • Consultation on the proposed bulk water tariff for the new financial year, and
  • The five-year bulk potable water infrastructure development programme

Engagements also took place with the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (KwaZulu-Natal) during the process of mediation over municipal outstanding debt for services provided by uMngeni-uThukela Water. All statutory documents for the reporting year were submitted as per deadlines.