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Industry news for the Water and Sanitation Sector in South Africa


 The Mvula Trust latest updates

'Value creation provokes spontaneous partnership' 'Value creation provokes spontaneous partnership'
Youth urged to embrace water and sanitation learnership programme
Limpopo cooperatives benefit from the skills development programme

Limpopo cooperatives benefit from the skills development programme

Cooperatives in the Vhembe and Mopani District Municipalities in Limpopo are set to receive training on business operations and personal finance.

This initiative will be spearheaded by LGSETA and The Mvula Trust, and is aimed at empowering cooperatives to be more competitive and increase their access to markets. Two hundred (200) members from various cooperatives will be skilled on how to manage their operations and finances effectively.

Addressing representatives who attended the induction session held in Tzaneen, LGSETA Limpopo Provincial Manager, Ms Margaret Marakalala (left in the picture below) emphasised that the programme sought to develop small businesses and sharpen their skills for optimal business operation.

“Together with the Department of Higher Education and Training, we recognise the necessity to empower entrepreneurs so that they can participate in big marketplaces,” said Marakalala.

“Developing community businesses and empowering entrepreneurs is one of the LGSETA’s primary objectives. We want to make sure that those productions contribute to global markets and creates more jobs in the communities. I strongly believe this training will fulfil those goals,” she added.

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One of the representatives from Makhomo Cooperative, which is in involved in farming, Mr Mohale Alpheus Selome, admitted that the training was long overdue and that he was confident it would be worthwhile for the growth and support of cooperatives in the area.

“I learned farming from my father, and we only supply seasonal crops to our community. This training will help us to expand our business and we will consider planting more crops to cater for the needs of the surrounding communities as well,” said Selome.

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The programme, which includes both theory and practical lessons, will run for five days. It will commence on the 27 February 2017 to 03 March 2017 at various local municipalities. The trainees will receive certificates of recognition after they have successfully completed their lessons.




Working for the organisation (The Mvula Trust) that has dedicated its resources towards community development, it is highly concerning to see schools incinerated or destroyed in numerous protests taking place across the country.

Growing up in rural areas, I know we only had our first secondary school in 1990. I am told that it was difficult to access education back in the mid-80s due to apartheid laws such as Bantu Education Act and Group Areas Act that were imposed on blacks. Learners walked long distances to the isolated school that was built for twenty villages or thereabouts.

It was a terrible and apartheid government orchestration. As correctly recorded in this repository: http://overcomingapartheid.msu.edu/sidebar.php?id=65-258-2&page=1, “Bantu Education denied black people access to the same educational opportunities and resources enjoyed by white South Africans.”

Surprisingly, as if Bantu Education was not ruthless enough, black communities abolish the only weapon they can utilise to emancipate themselves from poverty and other social ills.

This scenario corroborates the fact that we are gradually becoming the worst enemies of our own progress.

Although I am not disputing the negative effects of Bantu Education Act such as exclusive admission, infrastructural backlogs and high school fess, I fully believe that education is a developmental tool, and it should be cherished and safeguarded at all cost.

I have observed that many residents who embraced education since the advent of democracy have made huge progress – contributing massively towards the development of their communities and country at large.


Youth urged to embrace water and sanitation learnership programme

The Mvula Trust and Energy and Water Sector Education and Training Authority (EWSETA) jointly launched the learnership programme at Tzaneen in the Mopani District Municipality on the 20 May 2016.

The programme will mainly focus on the community water, health and sanitation monitoring and 100 identified youth from five (5) local municipalities, namely: Greater Tzaneen Local Municipality, Greater Giyani Local Municipality, Greater Letaba Local Municipality, Maruleng Local Municipality and Ba-Phalaborwa Local Municipality, will participate in this venture.


Addressing the learners, Executive Mayor of the Mopani District Municipality, Ms Nkakareng Rakgoale urged them to “vigorously imbibe as much knowledge as they can during the entire programme for their future and communities’ upliftment.” In addition, she emphasised that youth must appreciate the opportunity to bridge the skills gap in the water and sanitation sector.

Ms Norah Hanke, Water Sector Manager at the EWSETA, also highlighted that “not all countries are given these kind of opportunities; not all young people are selected to take part in in programmes like this one. Please use this opportunity wisely”.

Adding to the trail of advice to learners, Capacity Building and Training Manager at The Mvula Trust, Mr. Takalani Modau outlined the scope and basis of The Mvula Trust’s involvement in the greater scheme of things. “We have been assigned with responsibilities to holistically manage this learnership programme until it comes to its fruition,” said Modau.


Learners were exhilarated to be part of this initiative and are pinning their hopes on the learnership programme. “It is difficult to get a job if you only have a Grade 12 certificate. I hope this programme will serve as a foundation for greater things to come,” said Glenda Mola from Maruleng Local Municipality.

The learnership programme will officially commence on the 1 June 2016 and it will run for twelve (12) months – incorporating both theoretical and practical learning.

“Value creation provokes spontaneous partnership” – Mr. Silas Mbedzi, CEO of The Mvula Trust

It is our determination as The Mvula Trust to assist and get involved when a good cause or human development initiative is pursued.

Recently, we unhesitantly joined forces with the Limpopo Provincial Government when they hosted education summits in their five (5) districts, which culminated into a two-day Limpopo Provincial Education Summit.

We are delighted to have constructively participated and contributed in this project geared towards creating a conducive learning and teaching environment.

Apart from our founding mandate to persistently confront matters pertaining provision of water and sanitation in rural communities and schools, we have also resolved to broaden our horizons by supporting initiatives that are meant to empower and improve the socio- economic situation in areas where our people live.

Edward de Bono – a Maltese physician, psychologist, author, inventor and consultant – was accurate when he uttered this statement: “Companies that solely focus on competition will ultimately die. Those that focus on value creation will thrive”.

The levels of our gratification and value creation are interwoven. The cause for our existence should be measured against multifaceted and developmental interventions through which we consciously make a lasting impact in the communities across South Africa.



TMT gears up for the year ahead

The Mvula Trust (TMT) set aside three days (16 – 18 May 2016) to retreat from the office environment and vanished into the bushy and invigorating Entabeni Safari Conservancy for a strategic planning session.

This was a not-to-be-missed opportunity for a leading Non-Governmental Organisation of The Mvula Trust’s magnitude and calibre to gather and map out ways on how to strategically steer the ship in the right direction.

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According to John F. Kennedy, former President of the United States, the “efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.”

This statement fittingly echoes the basis for The Mvula Trust to make planning sessions one its annual traditions – with a view to consciously instil a sense of explicit purpose among its personnel. Attendees comprised the executive and management members as well as other employees who are at the core business of the organisation across all The Mvula Trust’s regional offices.

Speaking during the opening of the strategic planning session, The Mvula Trust’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Silas Mbedzi emphasised that the organisation (The Mvula Trust) was not going to accomplish its five (5) year strategic plan by default.

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“In an ideal corporate environment all organisations convene strategic sessions to reflect on their performance, collectively engineer future plans and their sustainability. It is also about how organisations satisfy market needs. We are therefore not immune in this instance,” said Mr. Mbedzi.

Apart from the focal point, there were other multiple team-building activities that employees partook of, which were directly linked to how strategies could be successfully and collectively executed with a common and shared vision.

The Mvula Trust is more than ready to heighten its strategy implementation to another level in the next financial year.

COO delivers a message of support at the Limpopo Provincial Education Summit

In the move to create conducive environment for teaching and learning in the schools across the province, the Limpopo Department of Education convened a two-day summit on the 09 – 10 May 2016 to woo key stakeholders from different quarters of society to rally behind the initiative.

This well-attended summit was held at the Meropa Casino, few kilometres outside the city of Polokwane. As one of the unparalleled implementing agent for diverse government projects and a leading non-governmental organisation in South Africa, The Mvula Trust was invited among other sponsors to participate in this function.

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The focal point of the summit was “putting teaching and learning at the centre of all activities”. Different speakers, among them academics and experts, were invited to address attendees on how to schools could improve learning outcomes; the role stakeholders and communities to create a learning environment for school children as well as ICT utilisation and effective learner involvement and support in the whole approach.

Delivering the message of support to the Limpopo Department of Education during the summit, The Mvula Trust’s Chief Operations officer, Ms Julia Mmushi, reiterated an unwavering support and commitment the organisation is offering to the department in relation to the delivery of water and sanitation in schools across the Limpopo province.

During the event, The Mvula Trust committed to deliver water and sanitation to two schools in the province at no cost. “As The Mvula Trust, we are pledging to provide water and sanitation facilities at two schools that will be identified by the Limpopo Department of Education,” said Julia Mmushi.

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The summit was officially opened by the Premier of Limpopo, Mr. Chupu Mathabatha. Among other dignitaries at the occasion was obviously MEC for Education in Limpopo, Mr. Ishmael Kgetjepe, senior government officials and well-known businessmen.

Learners On The Brink Of Decent Sanitation

The partnership between The Mvula Trust and Limpopo Department of Education (LDoE) continues to deliver decent sanitation to schools in the province.

The MEC for Education, Mr. Ishmael Kgetjepe, accompanied by the acting Head of Department, Ms Ndiambani Beauty Mutheiwana, led a sod-turning ceremony on Friday, 11 September 2015 at Klaas Mothapo Secondary School, Ga- Mothapo village.


MEC Kgetjepe used the event to announce the department’s plan to roll out sanitation programmes in 26 schools across the province. Addressing attendees in Northern Sotho, Kgetjepe emphasized and reiterated the importance of sanitation in schools, and how it could assist to prevent the spread of diseases, not only amongst learners, but in the communities at large.

The current sanitation facilities at the school are dilapidated and pose safety and health hazards to the learners. The project will include the building of new modern ablution facilities suitable and conducive for provision of safe environment – and it will also include provision of water system at the school.


In addition, Chief Executive Officer of the Mvula Trust, Mr. Silas Mbedzi lauded efforts made by MEC Kgetjepe to wipe out sanitation backlog in the schools. He concluded by sharing his experiences regarding sanitation problems around the world.

“Few weeks ago I was in Sweden, Stockholm where I was attending the World Water Week Conference. It is said that millions of people in India relieve themselves in the bushes due to lack of sanitation facilities,” said Mbedzi.

Boasting more than 20 years of impressive record in delivering successful water and sanitation projects in the rural and peri-urban areas of South Africa, the Mvula Trust has been assigned with responsibility to spearhead the implementation of this task at the Klaas Mothapo Secondary School.

The event was graced by, amongst other community leaders, Kgoshigadi of the Bakgaga ba Mothapo and also Member of Parliament, Ms Madipoane Refiloe Moremadi Mothapo.

The project is expected to start immediately and it will be expedited to ensure that learners receive value from this investment.

How To Use Water For Poverty Alleviation

It is undeniably true that majority of rural households in South Africa continue to live in abject poverty on daily basis. In an effort to tackle this scourge, former President Thabo Mbeki once posed a question to residents in one of the rural villages: “How are you using water to be economically active?”

Research conducted by a non – governmental organisation called the Association for Water and Rural Development (AWARD) in 13 villages in the Bushbuckridge area showed that where villagers had more water, economic activities of many poor households in the village increased twice. Typical examples of activities included brick making, drinking water for livestock, small businesses such as hair salons, home beer brewing, and ice making as well as backyard or community gardens.

Provision of water enhances local economic development and people’s livelihood – making significant contribution towards community upliftment. In addition, it helps households to generate income, especially when there is a gap in the market for locally produced goods.

Food security and income: A case study of Ms Matshepo Khumbane

The organisation called International Water Management Institute (IWMI) in partnership with Water for Food Movement (WfFM) studied the food production practices of Ms Matshepo Khumbane at her home near the town of Cullinan, located in the north eastern part of Tshwane Metro during 2002 winter season. In their study, IWMI discovered that Ms Khumbane produced almost a ton of vegetables on her small plot, which was laid out in such a way that it led rainwater directly into the vegetable beds every time it rained. In terms of value, Matshepo could sell and earn approximately R2 000 to buy maize meal for her household for the next six months.

She produced even more vegetables in summer, diffusing a notion that backyard gardens were no longer irrelevant.

The importance of rainwater harvesting

There are several sources of water and technologies that can be used to make additional water supply to households. Rainwater harvesting is one of those techniques that is gaining popularity again, after it was neglected for a longer period.

More than 60 different methods of rainwater harvesting are used in East African countries. There are, however, three most popular ways of harvesting rainwater in South Africa:

  • To lead rainwater directly into trenched vegetable beds in the backyard.
  • To build underground water tanks in the yard to catch and store rainwater for later use. People can build these underground tanks with cement blocks or other materials themselves.
  • To channel water in the maize fields into earth semi-circles or bunds, called ‘in-field rainwater harvesting structures’- so that rainwater is concentrated onto the crops. These methods can be used to provide water to households for different purposes.

MUS as a solution to water supply: A case study of Bushbuckridge Local Municipality

In 2005, the Association of Water and Rural Development (AWARD) piloted the implementation of multiple use system (MUS) in Ward 16 of the Bushbuckridge Local Municipality in Limpopo. AWARD used a community-based organisational approach model and worked with closely with, among others, the former Departments of Water Affairs and now Department of Water and Sanitation, Agriculture, and Social Development. This process comprised participatory assessment of water-based livelihoods, water services and water resources available in the local villages.

This approach was known as Securing Water to Enhance Local Livelihoods (SWELL). Based on the assessment, a joint planning process was followed.

Immediate refurbishment of infrastructure was prioritised.

Funds were allocated from the Integrated Development Plan to refurbish the water infrastructure.


One of the sources of water identified was small earth dams for cattle. Many of these dams had silted up. Residents resorted to domestic water systems to provide drinking water for their livestock. In response to this challenge, the Department of Agriculture committed to clean up the dams and residents put anti-erosion measures in place to prevent dams from silting again. Rainwater harvesting was also identified as one of sources that required possible exploration.

The pilot project was used to focus on the implementation and monitoring, working closely with the stakeholders, not only to solve water problems in the area – but also to use the project as a trial with a view to improve the Integrated Development Plan as well as water planning and implementation.

More Than 20 Years Specialising In Community Based Organisational Approach Model

The Mvula Trust has, over the years, piloted and refined its implementation of the Community Based Organisational Approach Model informed by a number of sound principles.

The model focuses on a community management approach through which a local water committee plays a key role in the implementation of a water project.

Our approach for implementation of projects ensures that:

Thorough feasibility studies in technical, social, institutional and financial assessments to ensure the overall viability of proposed projects.

Participatory project planning, where all stakeholders as well as local government and community representatives participate in key decision making.

Decision making is focused on the appointment of legal water services provider (WSP), level of service, choice of technology and roles and responsibilities of service providers.

A holistic project design that addresses all components necessary for sustainability including community needs; choosing appropriate technology ; health and hygiene practices; institutional capacity building; cost recovery, and effective operations and maintenance.

A construction phase that focuses on community awareness, local capacity building, entrepreneurial skills development, and use of local labour.


Operations and Maintenance (O&M) mentoring phase ensures that:

The water service provider has the necessary capacity to effectively fulfil its functions of operations and maintenance, revenue collection, customer relations, monitoring and reporting.

Support mechanisms are in place.

Health and hygiene promotion continues within the community.

Development of partnerships between local government, the community and water services institutions

A monitoring and evaluation phase where information is used to take any corrective action needed.

According to the statistics provided by the Department of Water Affairs (now Department of Water and Sanitation), 1.6 million people in South Africa did not have access to formal water supplies in 2010.

Although these figures may have significantly changed since then, the actual backlog of water supply in the rural areas, among others, is caused by operational and maintenance issues.

This phenomenon continues to happen despite significant investment and interventions by government to provide citizens with clean drinking water.

Our Community Based Organisational Approach Model has been tried and tested in many of our projects we implemented in rural areas across the country.

In addition, The Mvula Trust boasts an international reputation for advancing community based management of water and other developmental projects.

IN PERSPECTIVE: Sustainable Water Solutions For Future Generations

The proper implementation of both the Integrated Development Plans (IDPs) and Water Services Development Plans (WSDPs) should ensure sustainable provision of services to citizens – passing down the legacy to our future generations.

Case Studies: Ga – Rankuwa and Mabopane townships

Ga-Rankuwa, a township located in the north western part of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality had networks of water designed based on the cheapest capital costs.

This resulted in pipes made of asbestos and cement used for water distribution in areas of heaving clay. The aforementioned pipes have many joints, and they are short and stiff.

During rainy season, the clay will get wet and swells; resulting in pipes bursting at the joints.

Negative effects of burst pipes

Maintenance costs: Sending workforce to dig up the pipes and repair leaks.

Water losses: Leaks are not detected immediately and they can run for long time without being noticed

Disruptions: Water supply is interrupted during repair of leakages

Although all water networks have challenges, fifty leaks were identified in Ga – Rankuwa within one week.

Consequently, maintenance of water networks becomes more expensive. Nowadays, it is recommended that organizations use plastic pipes to build new water networks as they are cost effective. The cost of building new water networks can be reduced significantly.


One more problem has been identified in Mabopane, another township based in the Tshwane Metro.

Mid-block water pipes were installed in the backyard of residential houses. through the implementation of the so-called cost saving measures.  This setup creates problems when there are maintenance duties that should be carried out on the pipes.

In addition, it makes life difficult for residents; their gardens get damaged during installations and maintenance duties.

It is therefore important to be careful when planning integration of services. Proper assessment of both the capital and operating costs of the infrastructure using life cycle costing and selecting the most appropriate long term solutions is crucial. In the future, service delivery will not only depend on infrastructure; it will also rely on the sustainable provision of services.

The long-term solution to this problem, among others, is to build new water networks in the streets. Unnecessary expenditures could be avoided if life cycle costing can be done properly.

As a result, funds that will be saved through that process could be used to speed up delivery of services to other areas.

Better life for all should not be restricted to merely provision of housing; however, it should be done through the integration of sustainable basic services, which include delivery of water, sanitation and waste removal.

It is on this basis that we advocate long term solutions in the provision of basic services to the public at large and our future generations.