Department of Water Affairs and Forestry
Annual Report 1999-2000
1 April 1999 – 31 March 2000
To the Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry
I have pleasure in presenting this report on the work of
the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry for the
financial year ending on 31 March 2000.
Water Affairs and Forestry
We have a vision of a democratic, people-centred nation working towards human rights, social justice, equity, and
prosperity for all.
We have a vision of a society in which all our people enjoy the benefits of clean water and hygienic sanitation services.
We have a vision of water used carefully and productively for economic activities that promote the growth, development
and prosperity of the nation.
We have a vision of a land in which our natural forests, plantations and woodlands are managed in the best interests of
We have a vision of a people who understand and protect our natural resources so as to make them ecologically stable
and safeguard them for current and future generations.
We have a vision of a Department that serves the public loyally, meets its responsibilities with energy and compassion,
and acts as a link in the chain of integrated and environmentally sustainable development.
We have a vision of development and co-operation throughout our region; of playing our part in the African
The mission of the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry is to serve the people of South Africa by:
• Conserving, managing and developing our water resources and forests in a scientific and environmentally
sustainable manner in order to meet the social and economic needs of South Africa, both now and in the future;
• Ensuring that water services are provided to all South Africans in an efficient, cost-effective and sustainable way;
• Managing and sustaining forests, using the best scientific practice in a participatory and sustainable manner;
• Educating the people of South Africa on ways to manage, conserve and sustain our water and forest resources;
• Co-operating with all spheres of government, in order to achieve the best and most integrated development in our
country and region; and
• Creating the best possible opportunities for employment, the eradication of poverty and the promotion of equity,
social development, and democratic governance.
The Department of Water Affairs and Forestry is a loyal servant of the government and the people of South Africa.
As public servants our skills will, at all times, be used for the benefit of the people and for the reconstruction and
development of our country in the spirit of Batho Pele (People First).
As management, our responsibility is to provide high-quality transformational leadership and a disciplined work ethic,
and to promote a working culture for motivated, accountable and committed teamwork.
As citizens of the African continent, we are dedicated to long-term integrated regional security and co-operation, and to
the spirit of the African Renaissance.
Our working environment is governed by the principles of representivity, equality, mutual respect, and human
Viva water, pure and clean! Viva forests, rich and green!
CHIEF DIRECTORATE: FORESTRY 8
WATER SERVICES 14
CHIEF DIRECTORATE: WATER SERVICES 14
WATER RESOURCES 22
CHIEF DIRECTORATE: PLANNING 22
CHIEF DIRECTORATE: DEVELOPMENT 30
CHIEF DIRECTORATE: INTERNATIONAL PROJECTS 32
CHIEF DIRECTORATE: SCIENTIFIC SERVICES 37
CHIEF DIRECTORATE: WATER USE AND CONSERVATION 42
CHIEF DIRECTORATE: REGIONS 48
CORPORATE SERVICES 74
CHIEF DIRECTORATE: HUMAN RESOURCES 74
CHIEF DIRECTORATE: FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT 81
The past year saw the first change in political leadership in the department since the democratic elections
of 1994. We bade farewell to Professor Kader Asmal, who left to take up the challenging post of Minister of
A change of political leadership is inevitably a time for reflection. It is a time for the review of progress
made, and for the definition of new approaches. After an extensive programme of visits to all provinces
which took in many of the department's operations, Minister Ronnie Kasrils, to whom this report is
presented, launched an intensive strategic review which critically examined the focus and programmes of
the department as well as its style of work. This also led to a new vision, mission, values and slogan for the
A further output of this process was the department's first corporate business plan, aligned to the budget
cycle, which was published both internally and externally and on the department's website, which has
become an increasingly important mechanism of communication.
As a professional department, committed to improving the quality of life for all through practical
programmes in its three functional areas of water supply and sanitation, water resource management and
forestry, the organisation has emerged invigorated and has taken on its challenges with new energy.
The call from President Thabo Mbeki for an integrated approach to government has been taken to heart.
Thus, since all three functional programmes are critical to the development of South Africa's rural areas, the
department has been actively engaged in the development of the Integrated Rural Development Strategy.
More broadly, the department's Water Services programme is designed as an element of the overall
programme of support to local government, led by the Department of Provincial and Local Government.
The Forestry programme worked closely with the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism and
provincial departments engaged in nature conservation, focusing on the management of the country's
precious indigenous forests. The chief directorate has also continued to work with the Department of Public
Enterprises to restructure the state's commercial forest assets in a way which reflects both industrial policy
as well as the imperatives of regional development.
In the water resource field, we have worked with our agricultural colleagues to develop practical
programmes to rehabilitate and expand irrigation, with a particular focus on assisting those who have
historically been excluded from such activity. In addition, the goals of Agriculture's land care programme
are supported by the Working for Water programme, which also helps to achieve the biodiversity objectives
of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism.
Another high priority for the department has been to build on the good relations we have with our
neighbours. These were reflected in the support given to Mozambique during the floods. On a longer-term
basis, important progress was made not just with the implementation of the Lesotho Highlands Water
Project and the Komati Basin Development but also with the development of management arrangements in
the spirit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on shared water courses. Co-
operation in water management is seen by the department as a practical contribution to the realisation of
the goals of the African Renaissance.
On the international front, members of the department participated actively in the World Water Forum in
the Hague in March where the South African delegation, led by Minister Kasrils, made a major impact, not
least because of the close co-operation with our SADC partners. The announcement that Professor Kader
Asmal had been awarded the 2000 Stockholm Water Prize was, we believe, a tribute to South and
Southern Africa's water sector as a whole, and we have congratulated him warmly on the honour.
The domestic operations of the department have also been addressed. Transformation is now a key
performance indicator for all members of management. While a great deal of attention has been focused on
the implementation of policies and legislation in areas such as public service management, employment
equity, skills development and public finance management, this is only part of the transformation
programme. A formal programme to implement the service delivery standards required in terms of
government's Batho Pele policy has been initiated. A diversity management programme was conducted for
senior management, and will now be expanded to the rest of the department.
Finally, there have been some changes in the senior management of the department. We congratulated
Mr Tami Sokutu, Deputy Director-General for Water Policy and Resources, on his promotion to Director-
General of the Department of Public Works, while Dr Eugene Mokeyane, Deputy Director-General Water
Services and Finance and Regions, left his management role to become Special Advisor to the Minister
with Ms Janet Love, former chair of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Water Affairs and
Forestry. We have been joined by Mr Nkateko Nyoka who, as Deputy Director-General for Corporate
Services and Forestry, has taken particular responsibility for strategic management, and Mr Gundo
Manyatshe, who was appointed as the Department's first Chief Information Officer following the decision to
outsource the IT function.
Chief directorate: Forestry
To promote a thriving forestry sector, to be utilised for the lasting benefit of the nation and
developed and managed to protect the environment.
REVIEW OF ACTIVITIES
Forests form an important part of South Africa’s natural resource base, and contribute significantly to our
economy. The department plays a key role in developing, managing, and regulating the country’s forest
resources. The Chief Directorate: Forestry manages commercial and indigenous forests, offers community
forestry services, and provides the policy and regulatory framework for the sector as a whole.
The department’s forestry function consists of four directorates: Commercial, Conservation, Community,
and Forestry Policy. Regional offices are maintained in King William’s Town, Pitermaritzberg and Nelspruit,
and area offices throughout the country. Almost 12 000 people are employed in this section of the
The department currently manages some 160 000 hectares of commercial timber plantations. However, the
government is moving away from the direct ownership and management of plantation resources. This is a
process which will release significant assets on to the market and into the economy. It is a complex task
involving the merger of the state’s two forestry arms (part of this department’s commercial forests, and
Safcol, which is managed by the Department of Public Enterprises). These assets will be made available
on a long-term lease to private investors. The process involves a major human resource element as our
staffing structure is brought in line with industry norms.
Where plantations are being transferred to Safcol or to the private sector, employees are given the
choice to transfer with the asset, to remain with the department and accept redeployment, or to take a
Voluntary Severance package. During 1999 a total of 1200 plantation employees opted for Voluntary
Severance Packages, enhanced by a pension buy-back system implemented by the Department of Public
Services and Administration. All those who took packages were enrolled in a social plan programme which
provided training for alternative and self-employment as well as counselling.
Sales negotiations with the preferred bidders for four of the government’s seven forest offers began in
early 2000. Preparations for the transfer of 1 500 workers to the new employers are under way, and we
expect to implement these in late 2000. In the remaining areas, our assets will be transferred to Safcol.
Once the assets have been transferred, the department will be responsible for overseeing the entire
area in terms of the lease. We have established a Forestry Land Management Unit to undertake the lease
and property management responsibilities.
In the coming year, some portions of the government’s remaining plantation assets (comprising some 70
000 hectares in the Northern Province, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape) will be brought on to the
market following consultations with a variety of stakeholders.
Closed canopy indigenous forests make up less than 1 percent of South Africa’s land cover, and as such
our indigenous forests are a precious resource. In the past, these forests have been managed in a
fragmented manner, which has led to the decline and loss of forest resources. For the first time, a national,
integrated approach to the country’s natural forests is being adopted. This involves building a national
inventory of our forests so that proper management and monitoring can be put in place.
The department manages only part of the country’s natural forests; others are managed by provincial
authorities under delegations from the Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry. It is important to ensure that
these resources are being managed sustainably, in line with national policy. For this reason, an audit is
being performed to establish the level of management of the provincial forests. This is a co-operative
process, and the audit is performed jointly by the national and provincial departments with the assistance of
independent experts. A report on each province’s assets will be submitted to the Minister to allow him to
decide whether the delegations of authority to manage the forests can be extended.
We continue with efforts to implement more participatory approaches to the management of our forests,
and to work more closely with local communities. There have been a number of successes in this regard.
At the Ngome forest in KwaZulu-Natal, for example, our co-operation with the local community recently
extended to a joint trip to Zimbabwe so that community members could see how participatory management
works to the north of our borders. Reports are available on a variety of other participatory management
Over the past year there has been a process to bring greater focus to the community services that we offer.
Community forestry will now operate in the following areas:
• Management and restructuring of woodlots
• Urban greening
• New afforestation
• Rural greening and tree related development
• Woodland advice
• Fire regulation and advice
Woodlot restructuring has become a key priority, and detailed work is in process to determine the best
outcome for each asset. We believe that a significant number of the assets can become community-owned
enterprises, and consultations in that regard are now under way.
Urban greening is an area which is receiving increased attention. Some of our cities are real urban
forests, whereas other areas, particularly townships and informal settlements, look more like urban deserts.
The department works closely with NGOs such as Trees for Africa as well as other spheres of government
to ensure that urban greening is given priority throughout South Africa.
This directorate is also responsible for the Management of Arbor Week, which is held each year during
the first week of September. Arbor Week 1999 saw a large number of activities and was approached with
great enthusiasm throughout South Africa. Minister Kasrils initiated a Trees of Remembrance campaign,
which was deeply appreciated by the many families who participated.
This is a new and growing Directorate which is responsible for overall forestry policy as well as for liaison
One of the key areas of involvement over the past year has been the international negotiations on
Sustainable Forest Management under the auspices of the United Nations. The department has
participated actively in these discussions, and played a strong role in formulating the recommendations on
a global programme of action on forests to the UN General Assembly. We continue to participate in the
implementation of the global forest programme, and will co-host an important international meeting on the
financing of sustainable forest management in Oslo in 2001. There are also several other areas of
international co-operation, including a variety of forestry processes in the SADC, most notably on the
development of a SADC protocol on trade in forest products.
The directorate also provides support to the National Forests Advisory Council, the body appointed to
advise the Minister on forestry policy. The council is chaired by Judge Alan Dodson, and the vice Chair is
Muanalo Mudau Dyer.
An important area of involvement over the coming year will be the formulation of criteria, indicators and
standards for sustainable forest management. These will be developed in co-operation with the National
Forests Advisory Council, and will serve as the benchmark against which the sustainability of forest
management will be measured. We also plan to publish South Africa’s first State of the Forest Report in the
coming year. This will reflect on the extent and health of our forest resources, and will enable us to fulfil
local international reporting obligations.
Forest legislation and regulation
Over the last year both the National Forests Act and the National Veld and Forest Fires Act, both passed in
1998, were brought into effect. These new laws impact on every aspect of the department’s work, and on
all players in the sector. We have established a programme to implement all aspects of the legislation and
to establish the necessary regulations that will govern licenses, permits and other instruments for the
management of the country’s forests. In the third quarter of 2000 we will establish a separate directorate
responsible for this increasingly complex and important area of work
International Donor support
The UK Department for International Development (DFID) provides substantial assistance to our forestry
programme. This is in the form of financial support as well as technical assistance through the provision of
expertise. We hope to continue this important relationship in the year ahead. We also enjoy suport from the
Danish government through DANCED, and the Finnish government through FINNIDA.
Closed canopy indigenous forests make up less than one percent of South Africa’s land cover
and are therefore a precious resource
The department believes a significant number of woodlots can become community-owned
enterprises, and consultations in this regard are under way
Chief Directorate: Water Services
To ensure, through a programme of support to local government, that all South Africans
have access to sustainable, effective, equitable and economical water supply and
REVIEW OF ACTIVITIES
When this chief directorate was formed in 1994, its primary function was to implement the rural
infrastructure aspect of the Reconstruction and Development Programme. Since the introduction of the
Water Services Act (Act 108 of 1997) it has continued to focus on rural infrastructure, but with a greater
emphasis on supporting appropriate government and other institutions.
To date the capital infrastructure programme has provided 4 847 451 people with water through 236
completed projects, and 323 764 jobs have been created. Health and hygiene awareness programmes and
a smaller number of sanitation infrastructure projects have been implemented. In the period under review
R735 million was spent on the Water Services Programme, with water being provided to 1 639 475 people.
The chief directorate supports regional offices of the department in implementing water services
programmes. In addition to planning and programming support, other key activities are to formulate,
implement and monitor policy, to produce guidelines and aids for implementation, and to oversee pilot
Over the past year, the chief directorate has made substantial progress in establishing the regulatory
framework required by the Water Services Act. In preparing for its regulatory function, the chief directorate
has studied regulatory models in other countries. As part of this, the department and the Southern and East
African office of the World Bank’s Global Water Programme hosted an international financing workshop,
held from 28 November to 2 December 1999. Ongoing evaluation is an integral part of the chief
The department is examining the numerous policy recommendations made at the March 1999
appropriate practice conference and attempting to include them in the processes to update the 1994 White
Paper on Water Supply and Sanitation and the 1996 Draft White Paper on Sanitation, as well as to amend
the Water Services Act (Act 108 of 1997).
Draft regulations and national standards in terms of the Water Services Act have also been developed.
These relate to section 9 of the act, on compulsory national standards for water services; section 10, on
norms and standards for tariffs; section 19, on guides and regulations pertaining to contractual
arrangements for water services provision; and section 73, on water conservation regulations.
Support has been given to water services institutions, notably to water services authorities (local
government) and water boards. Numerous publications (including guidelines, model contracts and by-laws)
have been developed which clarify the roles and responsibilities of those institutions, and define the role of
the department in respect of water services authorities and providers. Progress has also been made with
enhancing the capacity of water services authorities to plan and improve their access to information. A
specific support programme was the Y2K project, based in this chief directorate, which provided extensive
support to water services institutions such as local government and water boards.
DIRECTORATE: MACRO PLANNING AND INFORMATION SYSTEMS
This directorate focuses on establishing and maintaining a platform for facilitating effective water services
planning and management. This is achieved through joint empowerment, integration, communication,
partnerships, and team-building with all role players.
Planning is a key tool to ensure effective service delivery. The water services development planning
(WSDP) initiative focused on supporting regional offices and water services authorities. All nine regional
offices have appointed WSDP regional co-ordinators. Their main task is to help water services authorities
develop a planning culture and prepare their water services development plans.
A WSDP status and tracking database, linked to the national WSDP reporting system, was installed at
the regional level, and a WSDP data capture programme for local and district municipalities was installed
on municipal computers, allowing easy electronic data submission. A range of supporting material was also
developed to assist authorities further.
The WSDP initiative strengthened authorities’ understanding of planning processes and improved the
knowledge of other organisations which are helping them to prepare their plans. Multidisciplinary
assessment committees have also been established to aid the WSDP submission process, and induction
workshops are currently under way. The first draft of the WSDP assessment tool for local municipality
submissions is in use in the regional offices.
In the year under review, first-order reference strategies for seven of the nine provinces were
completed. These included population profiles, area characteristics, driving forces, water resources,
infrastructure, institutional arrangements, environment and costing, and potential projects. These strategies
are holistic and integrated platforms from which future national, provincial and area strategies will be
developed and monitored. They are particularly useful as an aid to integrated development planning.
Tools to enable integrated decision-making at all levels of government were also developed, and
included a guide to communities and their groundwater supply, a costing model for water services provision
to communities, a guide to communities and their water services schemes, and a projects guide.
The other major function of this directorate is the development of a national information system on water
services. A prospectus focusing on the information and a technical architecture document were prepared to
help guide the development of the National Information System (NIS).
A planning and reference information system (including an electronic version of the User Needs System
and Water Resources Guides), the WSDP tracking system, a business planning tracking system, and a
water board system were developed. A first-phase consolidated database of all projects and schemes was
developed, which significantly improved the quality of data.
Capacity was built around information systems in the regional offices. The service component of the
work included ongoing technical and executive support. A number of high-level reports were delivered and
presentations made at ministerial and cabinet level.
DIRECTORATE: PROJECT DEVELOPMENT SUPPORT (PDS)
The function of the Project Development Support Directorate is to guide and support the implementation of
the water service infrastructure programme where achievements are described above.
Table 1: Expenditure on and achievements in respect of water services projects
Expenditure People served Projects completed Jobs created
Province (June 1994 to (June 1994 to (June 1994 to (June 1994 to
March 2000) March 2000) March 2000) March 2000)
Eastern Cape 476 293 000 1 008 611 42 39 652
Free State 107 960 000 196 686 23 10 796
KwaZulu-Natal 771 469 000 894 230 53 70 240
Mpumalanga 412 469 000 611 530 23 39 892
North West 574 360 000 764 202 19 60 560
Northern Cape 55 850 000 24 932 35 5 680
Northern Province 1 136 462 000 1 253 436 30 94 380
Western Cape 25 640 000 96 824 11 2 564
TOTAL 3 561 940 000 4 847 451 236 323 764
The Reconstruction and Development Programme community water supply and sanitation programme was
identified as a job creation programme at the Presidential Job Summit held on 30 October 1998. As a result
the directorate received R50 million under the Poverty Alleviation Programme, and a further R30 million for
projects which support economic development (especially tourism) as well as meet basic domestic needs in
the spatial development initiative (SDI) areas in the Eastern Cape (Wild Coast) and KwaZulu-Natal
(Lebombo). Under these programmes the department has provided 171 376 people with water, and 6 500
job opportunities have been created.
One element of the approach developed by this directorate has been the BoTT (Build, operate, Train
and Transfer) programme which is intended to increase the delivery capacity of the department. During the
year, existing contracts were renegotiated and extended for two years on terms favourable to the
department. Internal consultations were held on a possible contractual mechanism to replace the BoTT
contracts in 2001.
A Consolidated National Business Plan for the Water Services Programme has been prepared. This
document describes the methodology that will ensure that water services projects are implemented in
accordance with the department’s current policy and strategy and that of the government as a whole,
specifically in respect of the Water Services Act, the National Water Act, the Municipal Structures Act, the
Municipal Systems Bill, the National Environment Management Act, and, lately, the Affirmative
Procurement Bill. Policy on and strategy for local institutional development, operations, macro planning,
integrated rural development and implementation have been updated, and strategies for water conservation
and use, environmental impact management, water quality, and groundwater management have been
Compliance with the provisions of the national business plan is assured by a process of review of
individual project business plans. The Business Plan Appraisal Committee approved 28 business plans
with a total value of R134 million, and meant to serve 670 000 people. Besides this, 11 oTT (operate, Train
and Transfer) business plans and a business plan for management support were approved. The Eastern
Cape and Mpumalanga regional offices have delegated authority to approve their own business plans.
The directorate provides extensive support to regional staff. Achievements during the period under
review include the orientation and induction of new institutional and social development (ISD) staff on
community management; skills training in conflict management and community mediation; a national
conference held to promote standards as well as encourage partnerships with counterparts from local
government and water boards; and continuing support to regions on recruiting new staff members and
building staff morale.
Finally, attention was given to ensuring that sanitation interventions are supported in the implementation
process. A number of new business plans were received from the regions for the first phase of sanitation
programmes which focus on community education in health and hygiene awareness. Following the
education campaigns, 6 780 households have either improved existing toilets or built new toilets to RDP
service levels in pilot projects.
A monitoring and evaluation system, to which those implementing the capital infrastructure programme
provide information, has been operational since February 1998. During the year under review monitoring
and evaluation units were established at head office in Pretoria and in the regional offices in KwaZulu-
Natal, North West and Mpumalanga.
DIRECTORATE: LOCAL INSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT SUPPORT
In the period under review, the primary focus of this directorate was to support initiatives of the chief
directorate aimed at building the capacity of the water services authorities: the local governments. The work
centred on providing methodological support and tool development to enrich the water services
development planning process and to support work done with those authorities, with specific attention paid
to institutional arrangements. A number of developmental tools and guidelines have been devised and a
study to investigate their usefulness is currently being undertaken. This exercise will enable the directorate
to develop a demand-based training programme in collaboration with all stakeholders involved in local
government capacity-building and training.
The directorate is also responsible for oversight of the water boards which, as public regional utilities,
are increasingly important as service providers to local government. Generic guidelines have been
developed for drafting and appraising water boards’ policy statements, business plans, and annual reports
as required by the Water Services Act. It is envisaged that this process will provide water boards and the
department with information that will allow the performance of water boards to be more effectively
monitored. It is being driven internally by a working committee and an executive appraisal panel, tasked
with submitting recommendations to the Minister so that he can exercise his responsibilities under the act.
In the spirit of co-operative government, recognising that the water services programme is part of
government’s broader municipal infrastructure and local government development initiatives, there has
been substantial co-operation with other departments.
Technical support was provided to the Department of Provincial and Local Government in evaluating
business plans for the Consolidated Municipal Infrastructure Programme. Via this directorate, the
department also helped the Department of Housing to prepare the Red Book: Guidelines for the provision
of engineering services and amenities in human settlements.
Subdirectorate: Sanitation support
In the period under review, the directorate gave more attention to sanitation support. This included defining
the role and responsibilities of this subdirectorate. Linkages and the separation of functions among the
department, the National Sanitation Task Team and the National Sanitation Co-ordinating Office were also
clarified. Overall, this process has prepared the ground for good working relationships among these
agencies. A review of the National Sanitation Policy has also begun and will be completed in the coming
DIRECTORATE: INTERVENTION AND OPERATIONS SUPPORT (I&OS)
This directorate continued to focus on ensuring that services are sustainably provided. Issues such as
operations and maintenance, a business approach to water services, cost recovery, and the transfer of
schemes to water services authorities have been addressed.
It continued to support the regions’ performance of their functions, as well as developing policies and
guidelines. As part of this effort it drafted national standards for water services, as well as norms and
standards for tariffs. Many stakeholders were consulted; the process included 12 workshops with local
governments in all provinces.
Besides these draft regulations (in terms of sections 9, 10 and 73 of the Water Services Act), the
directorate also developed model by-laws and contracts accompanied by guidelines in order to support
water services authorities in their constitutional function of ensuring equitable access to basic water
To inform this work, the directorate has investigated regulatory models in other countries.
The directorate helped regions to allocate and spend their oTT budget allocations and has begun a
process to build regional capacity to support water services authorities. A project definition, procedure, and
generic formats for oTT business plans were developed to streamline the following year’s process.
Two of the cost-recovery pilot projects (Mankweng and Ekangala) begun during the previous year were
The policy for transferring government water services works was approved, and this directorate is
currently developing structures, policy and guidelines to address this issue further.
Finally, this directorate developed a discussion paper entitled To make basic water supply more
affordable to the poor. This will be discussed within the department, with other interested departments
(such as Provincial Affairs and Local Government), and with other role players.
Planning is a key tool to ensure effective service delivery
The Reconstruction and Development Programme community water supply and sanitation
programme was identified as a job creation programme at the Presidential Job Summit held on
30 October 1998
A Consolidated National Business Plan for the Water Services Programme has been prepared
Guidelines have been developed for drafting and appraising water boards’ policy statements,
business plans, and annual reports as required by the Water Services Act
Chief Directorate: Planning
To meet the growing water needs of all the inhabitants of the country with a limited supply
of water, and to provide information technology services to the department as a whole.
REVIEW OF ACTIVITIES
The functions of this chief directorate are:
• To plan water resources management and development options and, if required, new national water
resources infrastructure to meet the country’s future water needs and sustain the economic and social
well-being of its people;
• To provide guidelines for regional water resources management and development, taking into account
social and economic objectives as well as the hydro-geographical characteristics of the country;
• To assess the need to adapt or change departmental strategies and policies, given the dynamic
environment in which the department operates;
• To help the department to develop and maintain information systems and to supply information
All these functions require close interaction with all stakeholders. This includes liaising with provincial
governments, neighbouring countries, and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
The chief directorate is divided into four directorates: Strategic Planning, Water Resources Planning,
Project Planning, and Information Services.
DIRECTORATE: STRATEGIC PLANNING
The National Water Act has fundamentally changed the way in which South Africa’s water resources will be
managed, and the department has continued to develop a range of new strategies to implement it. This
directorate has contributed significantly to this effort. The new strategies will be summarised in the
forthcoming National Water Resource Strategy, a formal statement outlining how the Minister intends to
manage water resources over the next five years. In the year under review the directorate prepared a
document describing the strategy, and how it will be implemented. The strategy must harmonise with other
policies and laws in all spheres of government, and an analysis of the policy and legal framework was
begun to ensure this. The current intention is to make the strategy available for public comment by the end
of 2000 and to begin implementing it by mid-2001.
The directorate continued to represent the department in disaster management matters, and co-
ordinated the preparation of Y2K situation analyses, risk assessments, and contingency plans for the entire
South African water and waste water sector. As a result, there were no significant water-related incidents
during the 1999/2000 transition. The management structures and processes established to deal with the
Y2K event are now being formalised and made permanent within the disaster management framework
described in the 1999 White Paper.
The directorate also helped to prepare and refine the Disaster Management Bill, which will give legal
effect to the White Paper’s intentions. Staff members contributed significantly to the activities of the Interim
Disaster Management Centre during the floods in the north and north-east of the country in February/March
2000. The lessons learnt during those devastating events will be used to refine flood management policy,
an important component of the national disaster management framework.
Weather conditions conspired to slow down progress in piloting the South African Rainfall Enhancement
Programme in the Pietersburg area of Northern Province. Low rainfall in the early part of the summer,
followed by very high rainfall during the early part of 2000, meant that few cloud-seeding missions could be
flown. While useful co-ordinating work was done by the participating partners – the Department of
Agriculture; the Weather Bureau in the Department of Environmental Affairs; the Department of Arts,
Culture, Science and Technology; this department; and the company Cloudquest – not enough information
has been gathered to inform a decision on whether the programme should proceed. As a result, the pilot
programme will probably have to be extended to include at least part of the summer rainfall season of
Piloting of the PC Muniwater software package, which will be made available to municipalities to help
them with water management, continued in five municipalities. Progress was delayed by a lack of capacity
in some of the participating municipalities, and also by the need to revise some of the programme’s
modules. However, good progress was made in ensuring that data generated by Muniwater will be
compatible with other departmental water services databases, and in identifying an operational home for
The directorate compiled the department’s Strategic Plan for 2000/1, required by the public service
regulations. Besides identifying the department’s legal mandates and medium-term strategic objectives, the
plan contains summarised business plans for all chief directorates. Compiling the plan is a important step
towards integrating all departmental activities in a well-defined planning process, which itself forms part of
the overall government planning cycle.
DIRECTORATE: WATER RESOURCES PLANNING
This directorate was involved with broad water resources planning at a catchment, national, and
To provide a basis for developing a National Water Resource Strategy in accordance with the new
Water Act, a number of national studies were undertaken. The following were completed:
An economic study aimed at assessing each water management area, and arriving at indicators of
The development of a computer model to assess the balance between water needs and available
resources throughout the country.
The following studies will be completed during the 2000/1 financial year:
A demographic study to provide scenarios of future population numbers and distribution;
Broad water resources situation assessment studies of all water management areas.
A study to develop national water resource reconciliation scenarios for the National Water Resource
Strategy was begun.
The following detailed studies, aimed at reconciling water requirements with available resources, were
begun at catchment level:
Analysis using the updated Vaal River system model showed that this system yields far less water than
was previously estimated. An integrated process to solve this serious problem, using all the options
offered by the National Water Act, will begin during the 2000/1 financial year.
A study to gain an understanding of current irrigation water used throughout the Vaal River Catchment
was completed. It showed that financial and water use efficiency could benefit from introducing larger
areas of higher-value crops. Yields and financial returns could also be increased with improved
The Elands River water resources study provided a broad overview of the water resources and
requirements in this catchment area. It was established that water conservation and demand
management objectives are not being pursued, and that costs are not being recovered. As a result, too
much water is being used and wasted.
The Mutale and Nwanedzi rivers water resources study was completed, giving a broad overview of the
available resources and requirements in both catchment areas. It concluded that no water resources
development should be undertaken but that water conservation and water demand management
objectives should be implemented.
The Breede River Basin Study was begun. This is one of the few remaining basins in the Western
Cape with substantial undeveloped water resources potential. The study will focus on water use and
availability, including the potential for expanding irrigation within the basin as well as transferring water
to the Cape Metropolitan area.
The Mtata Basin Study was begun. The existing main supply source in the basin, the Umtata Dam, is
under pressure because of Umtata’s growth and upstream afforestation. This conflicts with the main
use of the Umtata Dam, namely the generation of hydropower. The main purpose of the study is to
obtain a better understanding of the current situation, and investigate possible courses of action.
The East Pondoland Coastal Catchment Study was begun. This study is focused on water use and
availability in these coastal catchments, particularly in Lusikisiki and surrounding rural settlements.
Various schemes to augment water supplies in the area are being investigated.
Phase two of the Olifants/Doring Study was begun. Its aim is to confirm the viability of certain
developments in the area, taking into account environmental requirements, socio-economic
implications, rates of sedimentation of new dams, and the outcome of pilot studies intended to verify
agricultural projections. It will also involve the co-ordination of other studies undertaken by the
provincial agriculture departments of the Western and Northern Cape, as well as a separate
departmental study on the establishment of the Ecological Reserve and the provision of various
On the international front, the following progress was made:
The Limpopo Monitoring Study, a joint study with Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, was
completed. The mathematical rainfall runoff model, which includes alluvial aquifer and river loss
models, was calibrated; as a result, the flow balance components of the main stem of the Limpopo
River are now better understood, and transmission losses can be estimated more accurately. The
international steering committee as well as the Limpopo Basin Permanent Technical Committee
approved the results of the study. The model will now be installed at the offices of the co-basin states,
and officials trained in its use.
Negotiations with Mozambique and Swaziland over sharing water from the basins shared with these
Negotiations with Mozambique and Swaziland on commissioning a joint study of the Maputo Basin
were completed, and preparatory work began.
A number of studies were conducted which focused on ecological issues, reflecting the importance of
sustainable use and development of the country’s water resources. These were:
The development of a hydraulic and hydrological model to simulate the behaviour of the Nyl River
floodplain and Nylsvlei wetland area under different flow conditions. The rainfall runoff model was
calibrated further, making use of the data gathered during the recent rainy season and the runoff that
was generated. The hydraulic model is still being developed.
The Olifants River ecological water requirement assessment study. The ecological water requirements
of the reserve, both in terms of quality and quantity, will be determined. A comprehensive public
participation programme was begun, and stakeholders helped to determine the present ecological state
of the area.
An evaluation of the use of the ACRU model in reserve determinations was begun. This model can be
used either to simulate natural or pristine flow conditions from fairly basic input data, or to simulate the
effects of land use changes on hydrology.
The development of a suitable river system model of the Sabie River catchment, and practical real time
water release rules for operating Injaka Dam, continued. This will ensure that the water requirements of
all sectors, including the complex instream flow requirements, can be met.
Good progress has been made with developing the hydrological extrapolation method, applicable to all
rivers in South Africa, in order to obtain a first-order appropriation of the quantity component of the
ecological reserve at the desktop estimate level (Level 1) and the rapid determination level (Level 2).
The estimates have to be relatively simple, but must be scientifically credible. The Level 1 estimate will
be used as an input into the National Water Balance Model, which will supply essential data to the
National Water Resource Strategy. The Level 2 estimate will be useful for water resources managers in
establishing where in selected catchments water is still available for allocation.
DIRECTORATE: PROJECT PLANNING
This directorate was involved in the following pre-feasibility and feasibility studies:
• A feasibility study on improving the water supply in the Groot Letaba catchment was completed. This
included a possible new dam on the Groot Letaba River, and the possibility of raising the Tzaneen Dam.
A strategy for implementing management interventions is being developed before the implementation of
the development proposals.
• A study of social and archaeological aspects of the Nandoni Dam was completed, and a relocation plan
was almost completed.
• The module on the financial and economic viability of the Thukela Water Project Feasibility Study was
begun. This study is aimed at investigating the technical feasibility and economic viability of transferring
an additional 15m3/s of water from the Thukela River to the Vaal River system, utilising the existing
Drakensberg Pumped Storage Scheme. The project would have important benefits for the province and
• The study of the feasibility of further phases of the Olifants-Sand River Water Transfer Scheme is
progressing well. The scheme will augment the supply to Pietersburg and communities en route. It must
also secure water for mining development in the study area, which is expected to begin soon. The
implementation programme for further phases of this project is being revised in view of updated
projections of water requirements and a study of the feasibility of raising the Arabie Dam.
• The Mogalakwena feasibility study, investigating solutions to shortages in water supplies to
Potgietersrus/Mahwelereng, the Bakenberg area and Naboomspruit/ Mokgophong, is nearing
completion. It emphasises the implementation of water conservation and demand management
measures, and the reallocation of existing water resources between sectors.
• Good progress was made with the Klein and Middle Letaba River reconnaissance study. It showed that
the system yielded less water than previously estimated. Two possible sites for new dams on the Klein
Letaba River were identified.
• The configuration of the proposed Mooi-Mgeni Transfer Scheme has been finalised, and the Minister
has approved the construction of Phase 1. The timing of Phase 2 will depend on the effectiveness of the
water demand management and conservation measures introduced by water users. A study on the
feasibility of a possible second phase for Spring Grove Dam is in progress.
• The Mvoti River Development Feasibility Study Extension (iSithundu Dam) was delayed because the
economic viability of the scheme was in doubt, particularly in respect of the largest potential water user,
the argicultural sector. Indicative tariffs for a potential scheme were presented to stakeholders. Further
negotiations are scheduled for 2000.
• A study on the feasibility of raising the Hazelmere Dam on the Mdloti River was begun. It it aimed at
establishing whether raising the dam is a feasible way of augmenting the water supply to KwaZulu-
Natal’s North Coast. The study should indicate whether this will be done by raising the Hazelmere Dam
or building a dam on the Mvoti River at iSithundu.
• The Southern KwaZulu-Natal water resources pre-feasibility study – aimed at developing an optimal
water resource management and infrastructure development programme for the region – was begun. Its
first phase will concentrate on water conservation and demand management measures. If these
measures do not meet the demand, the second stage will concentrate on investigating a possible
infrastructure development programme.
• The Klein Karoo rural water supply scheme augmentation study was completed. This was a
reconnaissance-level study to determine the desirability of augmenting the existing scheme, and to
identify possible future augmentation options.
• A pre-feasibility study on augmenting the water supply to the Port Elizabeth region has been initiated,
and good progress has been made. The water demand management option has yielded promising
• The Voëlvlei augmentation feasibility study is investigating a scheme to increase the yield of Voëlvlei
Dam. It is expected to be completed by June 2000.
• Preliminary studies of further phases of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project continued during the year.
Negotiations over the implementation of a Joint Pre-commitment Study also continued.
• A study was begun to determine the need to augment the water resources of the eastern subsystem of
the Vaal River.
• Negotiations began on a proposed joint study with Namibia of measures to improve water management
of the lower Orange River.
A number of studies specifically focused on ecological issues were undertaken.
• The study assessing the instream flow requirements and estuarine freshwater requirements of the
Palmiet River was extended. A comprehensive determination of the reserve is under way as a second
phase. The study is being guided by the steering committee of the Palmiet catchment management
• A study was begun to review the recommendations made on the outlet capacity of and method for the
Skuifraam Dam outlet works, as determined by the feasibility study. Good progress was made. A team
of environmental and other specialists will make recommendations on the validity of the previous
assumptions and recommendations, which based the prescribed outlet capacity on the controlled
maximum flood release for environmental requirements.
• A study asssessing aspects of the environmental requirements of stretches of various rivers in the
Amatole region, as well as the Nahoon River estuary, was begun.
• A study determining the ecological reserve of the Mhlathuze System yielded final results. Local
communities indicated via a representative stakeholder committee that a medium ecological
management class should be used for planning the augmentation of the Mhlathuze System.
Various modelling studies aimed at fine-tuning large water supply systems were undertaken.
• A computerised water quality operating model was developed during the second phase of the Amatole
Water Resources System Analysis, and the product was handed to Amatole Water. This study has now
• The development of an integrated water resources model of the Upper Olifants River (Loskop Dam)
catchment is nearing completion. It will be used to further develop and plan the catchment, where water-
related problems result from the extensive coal mining and power-generating activities in the area. The
model will be used in subsequent studies to assess various development and management options
aimed at ensuring the quality and quantity of water supplied to all users in the catchment. It will form an
important component of a decision-making support system for a future catchment management agency.
• A study to determine the best operating rules for and dates of future phases of the augmentation for the
Mhlathuze system was conducted, in parallel with an ecological reserve determination study. The study
will be concluded once users of the system have provided final demand projections; this was expected
in the first half of 2000.
DIRECTORATE: INFORMATION SERVICES
The use of modern information technology is indispensable to the department’s ability to meet the
challenges posed by the new Water and Forestry Acts. To overcome an attrition of capability in the field of
information systems, a contract was awarded during the year to outsource this activity to the private sector.
A chief information officer was also appointed to provide overall leadership to the department in this field,
and to manage the contract.
In 1999 the department was made responsible for safeguarding South Africa’s entire water sector
against Year 2000-related computer failures, from national government down to local authorities. The water
and sanitation sectors experienced an uneventful millennium roll-over. This includes all of the 834 identified
local authorities, 18 water boards, and sewage companies.
Had Department of Water Affairs and Forestry or the water/sanitation sectors not achieved a high state
of readiness, occurrences impossible to estimate of:
• Civil actions and resulting litigation would have resulted;
• Disruption of civil society institutions, infrastructure and quality of life would have occurred.
The process of reaching Y2K readiness and achieving compliance offered opportunities to effect necessary
modernisation. It was also used to undertake necessary maintenance, and the work carried out assisted
the Department of Water Affairs to establish an essential set of contingency plans enabling a proactive
approach, culture and processes to manage risk.
A complete set of Y2K operating rules for all state dams equipped for flood control was prepared and
The department’s intensive preparations and remedial work to meet this challenge proved very
successful, as no departmental services were interrupted and no problems were experienced.
The department’s backup and server facilities and its regional office network infrastructures were
significantly upgraded. The enhanced availability of e-mail, office automation, intranet and internet facilities
has made the department significantly more efficient. In an important interim step towards fully electronic
systems, scanners and printers were installed for converting historic drawings to digital format. This has
enabled a plan to be recalled and reproduced in minutes rather than hours. An even more momentous
event was the installation at the end of the financial year of an Electronic Document Management System
to reduce the department’s reliance on paper and to give authorised parties digital access to all
departmental information via the intranet and internet.
The department’s integrated Water Quality Information System was also enhanced. The first increment,
delivered in the previous year and now extended to the Western Cape regional office, was expanded to
include all water sample analyses on a downsized database at a substantially lower cost. This development
will also enable water quality data to become available on the internet. Sound standards for durable
database architecture were also determined during the development of other new systems, such as the
Water Management System. The development of a Water Authorisation Registration Management System
will play a pivotal role in licensing water uses under the new Water Act. The department’s spatial data
inventory system was also improved to prepare it for the intranet and internet, and interested parties were
supplied with copies.
An Afforestation Permit System, aimed at streamlining permits that take sensitive ecosystem protection
as well as economic development in the forestry industry into account, was installed at the department’s
regional offices. Following a major exercise, spatial community forestry data will be available on the internet
once field checking is complete. Invaluable preliminary maps already allow foresters to supply accurate
Successes were achieved by automating water-related engineering and scientific procedures. New
methods for creating hydrologically correct digital elevation models were tested using geographic
information system (GIS) software and data captured from 1:50 000 maps. A preliminary digital elevation
model of the Vaal Dam catchment area and associated programmes were developed to a stage where they
can be used to generate the geographic and flow information needed to calibrate a new river forecast
system model, developed jointly by the United States National Weather Service and the department’s
Directorate of Hydrology. These techniques significantly improved work efficiency, accuracy, and
presentation ability. Progress with a core module of a GIS hydrological modelling sample extension should
also be complete by mid-2000.
Development of the important National Water Balance Model entered its final stage. It should be
available during 2000.
Chief Directorate: Development
To establish planned schemes in an effective, efficient and economical way.
REVIEW OF ACTIVITIES
The chief directorate is composed of the Directorates of Civil Design, Design Services, Mechanical and
Electrical Engineering, and Construction.
The chief directorate’s course of action during the year was aimed at meeting the objectives of the
Reconstruction and Development Programme. Aspects that received attention were, inter alia:
• The promotion of labour-intensive methods for the construction of bulk water supply schemes;
• The promotion of small, medium and micro enterprises in the implementation of bulk water supply
In the year under review the chief directorate designed, built and/or supervised the following projects:
• Sabie River Government Water Scheme: Injaka Dam, water treatment plant and bulk water reticulation
system. This R250-million water project in the Sabie River catchment area is progressing well. The 54-
metre-high Injaka Dam on the Marite River is the first phase of a scheme that will provide water to more
than a million people, predominantly in the Bushbuckridge area, via regional water treatment works and
an extensive pipe distribution system.
• Pongola Government Water Scheme: canal upgrading, Grootdraai weir and drainage works. The weir
• Luvuvhu River Government Water Scheme. Supervision of work on the Nandoni Dam continued. The
detailed design of the Xikundu Weir, water treatment plant and distribution scheme has begun.
• Tugela-Vaal Government Water Scheme. The main canal is being repaired and upgraded.
• Olifants-Sand Transfer: Rooipoort Dam. Design and cost estimates for the feasibility study were
completed. Foundation conditions at various locations were investigated.
• Mgeni River Government Water Scheme: Midmar Dam. A feasibility study on raising the dam wall has
• South Ndebele Government Water Scheme: Weltevreden Weir and Bloedfontein Pumping Station.
Feasibility studies continued on increasing the flow of water from the weir to the water treatment plant,
and improving the safety of the weir. pumps and pipeline to Bloedfontein Reservoir. Design work was
done, and construction was to be completed by the end of 2000.
• Middle Buffalo River Government Water Scheme. A feasibility study was done on refurbishing the
current outlet works and scour valves. Construction of the rising main from the Laing Dam to the
Qongqotha Reservoir was completed.
• Elands River Government Water Scheme: Vaalkop Dam. An additional offtake to increase the supply of
water to the treatment plant was successfully installed.
• Mooi-Mgeni River Transfer Scheme. Design work on the Mearns Weir continued. Design work and cost
estimates forming part of the feasibility study on the proposed Spring Grove Dam continued.
• Saldanha Groundwater Government Water Scheme. The first phase was commissioned in December
• Dam Safety Inspections and Visits. Thirty-three dams were inspected. Specialised structural and
hydraulic studies were performed.
• The South African Institution of Civil Engineers (SAICE) cited the Qedusizi Dam, part of the Ladysmith
Flood Control Scheme, as the most outstanding civil engineering project in respect of technical
excellence in South Africa.
• The Occupational Health and Safety Act was successfully implemented throughout the department.
• The Y2K project was successfully managed.
Chief Directorate: International projects
To establish water projects in collaboration with neighbouring states, as effectively and
cheaply as possible; to foster good relations between the Department of Water Affairs and
Forestry, the governments of other countries, and other external bodies; and to promote
the safety of new and existing dams in South Africa in a manner that protects lives,
property, and water resources.
REVIEW OF ACTIVITIES
The objectives of the chief directorate were vigorously pursued by a small complement of only 22 members
of staff. The progress achieved is outlined separately for the four main functional areas in the next
paragraphs. For the two binational projects, the progress made with implementation is reported in broad
terms. Here it is important to note that the chief directorate is tasked to facilitate and monitor
implementation done by others. The co-ordination of various aspects of international liaison by the newly
established Directorate: International Liaison gradually increased during the year. The regulatory activities
of the Dam Safety Office continued, while steps were initiated to revise the relevant regulations to ensure
compliance with the National Water Act.
Lesotho Highlands Water Project
The Lesotho Highlands Water Project is a binational, multi-phase, inter-basing water transfer project that
augments the water supply in the Vaal River System and generates hydro-electricity for Lesotho. According
to the treaty underpinning the project, this department is the South African authority designated to deal with
the project and is responsible, via this chief directorate, for upholding national interest during its
The treaty, as amended by Protocol VI signed in June 1999, established the binational Lesotho
Highlands Water Commission (LHWC) as the body responsible for implementing this project. It oversees
the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority (LHDA), the implementing body in Lesotho, and the Trans-
Caledon Tunnel Authority in South Africa. The South African delegation to the Commission is supported by
a small multidisciplinary office in Maseru.
Phase 1A of the project consists of the Katse Dam on the Malibamatso River in Lesotho, a transfer
tunnel which acts as the headrace for a hydropower station at Muela Dam downstream of the hydropower
station, which provides the intake to the delivery tunnel and the outlet in the Ash River near Clarens in the
Free State. This subphase is already operational; during the year under review 545,1 million cubic metres
of water were delivered to South Africa. Royalties paid to Lesotho amounted to R143 million. Installations
under Phase 1A were satisfactorily operated and maintained. The hydropower station at Muela is operated
to a high standard, and less than 5 per cent downtime due to unforeseen outages has been recorded. An
interim agreement for the sale of surplus power to South Africa was concluded with Eskom.
The first phase of erosion protection measures at the tunnel outlet works in the Ash River was
successfully completed in October 1999. Further erosion protection works along the Ash River up to the
confluence with the Liebenbergsvlei River will be built over the next two years.
The instream flow requirements study begun in October 1997 to determine the biophysical, social and
economic impact downstream of existing and proposed dams is almost completed. Draft reports have been
submitted to the client, the LHDA. The draft report contains four scenarios of potential release patterns from
dams. Each scenario describes a different future flow regime, and details its biophysical, social, socio-
economic and yield consequences as well as mitigation measures. The financial implications of the
scenarios for the two participating countries can now be determined. In the course of the study, 144 villages
were visited in a corridor five kilometres wide on either side of the river. The information gathered can now
be used to determine compensation due to communities downstream of the storages.
The 54-kilometre-long labour-intensive portion of the Katse feeder road project was completed. The
objectives of this project – to provide local communities with new access roads to mitigate the loss of
established routes caused by the Katse reservoir, and to create employment opportunities, both during
construction and in respect of subsequent maintenance – were successfully achieved. People were
employed from villages adjacent to construction sites; 253 704 person-days of work were created, and
members of affected communities received incomes totalling R7,4 million.
Implementation of Phase 1B continued during the year, with satisfactory progress made on the Mohale
Dam. To date 3 million cubic metres of an eventual 8 million cubic metres of rockfill have been placed. The
contract is expected to be completed as planned in April 2002. Impounding is due to begin in October 2001.
The construction of the 30,5-kilometre-long Mohale Tunnel, which will transfer water from the Mohale
Dam to the Katse Dam, was not satisfactory. The performance of the two tunnel boring machines was
disappointing. Extensive steps were taken to prevent the programme from being delayed further. To date
6,7 kilometres of a total of 30,5 kilometres have been excavated and lined. It has become evident that the
tunnel will not be completed by January 2003, as originally planned. However, this will not materially affect
supplies to the Vaal River System, as storage in the Mohale Dam would have begun earlier.
Construction of the Matsoku Weir and Tunnel is progressing well. The weir is 92 per cent complete, and
the tunnels 60 per cent complete. The contract is expected to be completed in March 2001. The transfer of
water to the Katse Reservoir is expected to begin on schedule in the first quarter of 2001.
Implementation of the Environmental Action Plan for Phase 1B continued during the year under review.
A total of 99 households had previously been resettled during the pre-construction stage. The resettlement
of the outstanding 226 households will begin in the next year, with October 2002 set as a target date for
completion. Preparations for replacing affected infrastructure and income generation programmes
The project remains fully funded, with all loan facilities effective and available for disbursement.
The compromise proposal on Lesotho taxes was finally agreed when Protocol V to the treaty was signed
on 4 June 1999. Repayment by Lesotho of taxes collected up to 31 March 1991 will begin on 30 April 2000
with a first instalment of R48,9 million.
In Protocol VI to the treaty, signed on the same day, the parties agreed on certain changes to the
governance arrangement for the project. Following this, governance manuals regulating the Lesotho
Highlands Water Commission’s new relationship with the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority and
Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority were prepared. Formal implementation of Protocol VI is being delayed until
the government of Lesotho has amended the establishment notice.
By March 2000 the accumulated revenue from water levies and tariffs received by the Trans-Caledon
Tunnel Authority for repaying project-related debt amounted to R3 300 million. Based on projected water
use from the Vaal System, expected revenue from water delivered by the project in the period 2000/1 is R1
Negotiations with Lesotho on further phases of the project continued during the year, and reasonable
progress was made. The parties agreed to undertake a joint pre-commitment study to determine
acceptable layouts and conditions for further phases. When the study has been completed, South Africa
will be able to decide on the preferred source and timing for further augmenting the water supply to the
Vaal River System.
Komati River Basin development
The treaty between the governments of Swaziland and South Africa on the joint development of the water
resources of the Komati River basin was signed in 1992. This resulted in the establishment of the binational
Komati Basin Water Authority (KOBWA), tasked with establishing and operating development projects in
the Komati River basin. Officials of this department serve on a Joint Water Commission, where they protect
South Africa’s interests in respect of the project.
The first KOBWA project, the Driekoppies Dam, was inaugurated in July 1998, and water was released
from Lake Matsamo during the past year. During the high rainfall in February 2000 the reservoir again filled
up and attenuated the incoming flood peak, thus protecting downstream development to some extent.
The implementation of the second joint project involving the Maguga Dam on the Komati River near
Piggs Peak in Swaziland progressed satisfactorily. A clinic near the dam, a multipurpose hall and housing
development in Piggs Peak, and a high-level bridge across the Komati River – all forming part of the project
– were completed and inaugurated. The dam was 42 per cent completed. However, due to early delays in
giving the contractor access to the construction site, as well as abnormal rain in the summer of 1999/2000,
completion of the dam will be delayed by at least three months up to September 2001. According to the
latest schedule, impoundment should begin by May 2001, which effectively means that the opportunity to
store the runoff of the summer of 2000/1 has been lost.
Preparation for the resettlement of affected people continued. To manage this process, KOBWA
established an environmental unit at Maguga Dam, and appointed consultants to design and implement the
resettlement and development plan. The Resettlement and Development Action Committee provided
representatives from the local communities, the government, and the implementing authority with a useful
forum for discussing issues related to the project.
The final version of the Environmental Impact Assessment and Comprehensive Mitigation Plan for
biophysical aspects was submitted. A scoping report for the work to be done by the consultant on the
resettlement and development was approved.
In particular, the preparations for resettlement and compensation during the year included:
• the verification of assets;
• the relocation of graves;
• an assessment of levels of disruption;
• the preparation of documents on compensation procedures and rates (by means of a participatory
• the discussion of various proposed layouts for the new resettlement areas with interested parties.
A Directorate for International Liaison was established in the year under review; a director was appointed in
March, and three more staff members were appointed in the course of the year. The Dam Safety Office, an
established unit, was also incorporated in this directorate.
The following were the highlights of the year:
• The directorate took over the co-ordination of DWAF’s involvement with the Southern African
Development Community (SADC), organised a very successful SADC Water Week Workshop on behalf
of the SADC Water Sector, and helped to develop Southern African Water Vision and World Water
• The directorate began to co-ordinate and review the department’s involvement with international water
committees and with water commissions in neighbouring countries. Several meetings were organised
and attended. However, some of the committees are dormant and need to be reactivated.
• The directorate began to co-ordinate donor assistance to the department, developed a new interim
donor assistance policy and procedures, facilitated the establishment of a new donor assistance co-
ordinating committee, and arranged the annual meeting where donors meet the Minister.
• The directorate assumed responsibility for managing the department’s financial commitments towards
the Komati Basin Authority (KOBWA), and monitored and advised on the development of a resettlement
and development plan for the Maguga Dam in Swaziland.
• On numerous occasions the directorate facilitated meetings between the Minister and delegations from
foreign countries, for which briefing notes were compiled.
Dam Safety Office
The Dam Safety Office continued with its efforts to control the safety of all dams in the country. Altogether
77 registered dams were classified, bringing the total number of registered dams now classified to 3 499
(91 percent of the 3 836 dams registered to date), as shown in table below. In addition, 42 proposed dams
Size class Hazard potential TOTAL
Low Significant High
Small 1946 (55%) 616 (18%) 35 (1%) 2597 (74%)
Medium 235 (7%) 400 (11%) 125 (4%) 760 (22%)
Large 1 (0%) 12 (0%) 129 (4%) 142 (4%)
TOTAL 2182 (62%) 1028 (29%) 289 (9%) 3499 (100%)
Technical auditing of the dam safety programme by updating the dam safety database and compiling
monthly and annual reports continued. Ninety-eight first inspection reports, 50 second and one third
inspection report were received. This brings the total number of first inspection reports received since the
regulations were promulgated in July 1986 to 881. A total of 73 inspection directives were issued. In the
year under review a total of 121 deficiencies at dams were registered, and only 30 rectified. To date, 36
percent of the 1 874 deficiencies have been rectified.
In order to ensure that dams are built, altered, repaired and abandoned in accordance with appropriate
standards, and provide guidance on acceptable dam safety practice, Dam Safety Office personnel visited
160 problem dams and dams under construction during the past year.
Following the floods in February 2000, special attention had to be paid to damaged dams, especially in
Mpumalanga and Northern Province. Provisional information indicates that at least 55 small dams failed in
Mpumalanga. In Northern Province, at least 13 serious incidents (including failures) occurred at Category II
dams. The failure of an unregistered dam near the Louis Trichardt-Thohoyandou road claimed the lives of
Deficient spillway capacities were identified as one of major shortcomings when safety inspections were
carried out in the early 1990’s at some of the abovementioned Category II dams. Dam owners were asked
to rectify these in the medium term, and it appears as if a lack of funds and an absence of a sense of
urgency were the main reasons why spillways were not upgraded in time. The Dam Safety Office did exert
pressure on these dam owners to upgrade their dams. This effort was partly successful, and general
maintenance and less costly upgrading work have improved. The office did not issue any directives forcing
these dam owners to complete upgrading work by a certain date. However, this has been done in other
cases where unsafe dams posed an immediate threat to lives.
The newly appointed Advisory Committee on Safety of Dams, chaired by Ms Robin Stein, met three
times to review the annual report of the Dam Safety Office and consider required changes to the dam
safety regulations to ensure compatibility with the National Water Act.
The total expenditure incurred in the course of administering dam safety legislation was R1 235 000. A
further R195 745 was paid to dam owners in the form of subsidies for work related to dam safety.
Chief Directorate: Scientific Services
To develop water resource monitoring and assessment methodologies, based on
multidisciplinary scientific and technical principles; and to provide an extensive range of
water resource quality, quantity, and related information to support the department’s
mandates for providing water services, and developing and protecting water resources.
REVIEW OF ACTIVITIES
During the year under review, efforts to implement the National Water Act were intensified. People,
infrastructure and financial resources in this directorate were diverted to high-priority projects. However, the
routine monitoring of water resources continued without interruption.
The disastrous floods on the subcontinent had considerable implications for this chief directorate,
damaging its hydrological systems to the tune of R30 million. Despite this, the remaining monitoring
stations continued to deliver essential information on the extent and timing of floods. Working via the Flood
Office, the chief directorate was able to avoid further damage to property and threats to human lives by
releasing stored water in time to absorb oncoming floods. In addition, throughout the flooding it provided
the Mozambican authorities with daily hydrological bulletins – twice daily when more information was
requested. Although repair work has begun, it will take years before all the monitoring stations are fully
operational once again.
A major task that cuts across all subprogrammes is to determine basic human as well as ecological
water requirements (the Reserve), which will guide water management institutions. This task has had a
major impact on the orientation of this chief directorate. In order to support this requirement:
• Methodologies have been developed;
• National priorities for scheduling activities have been determined;
• Structures have been created to co-ordinate and allocate limited resources; and
• Institutions have been strengthened.
The techniques for determining ecological water requirements are critical to the achievement of sustainable
water use. The chief directorate’s monitoring systems will give early warning of deteriorating conditions,
and provide evidence of improvements as measures are implemented to protect fragile or stressed
Another strategic project was the development of a system for managing water use authorisations
(licences) and registration. A critical aspect of this project was the need for a secure system, based on
sound financial principles, that would facilitate cost-recovery in respect of water use on a national basis.
This system will eventually be a ‘water use ATM’ enabling water users to pay their accounts, apply for
water use, register and de-register water use, transfer water from one property to another, and obtain
certified statements for outstanding charges. It will also provide information on national water use, which is
essential for planning and developing South Africa’s water resources.
The project entails designing and building a database with the necessary security and validation
controls, which adheres to departmental standards, incorporates an audit trail on all data fields, allows
system users to be tracked, and provides transaction controls. The system is intended to provide user-
friendly support, including design of online and hard copy application forms for registering water use and
applying for licences; a public guide, published in different official languages; training in the use of the
system; and provision of computer systems and other infrastructure to regional offices.
The transformation of this chief directorate at a technical level has always been driven by technological
developments and scientific advances. Wherever possible, it tries to utilise improvements in methods,
equipment, knowledge and understanding. The past year has been no exception; improved information
system technology, new geological photographic equipment and a new digital photogrammetric system
The functions of the chief directorate are being changed to respond to short-term projects as well as
long-term processes. New functions have emerged in response to changed legislation, and existing
functions have been modified to render them more appropriate and service-oriented.
Existing line functions are also being changed to make them more relevant and service-oriented.
Hydrological monitoring networks are being extended to former homeland areas. Hydrological databases
are also being extended to neighbouring states through the Southern African Development
Community/Hydrological Cycle Observing System (SADC/HYCOS) initiative. The flood management
system, which formerly addressed the Orange-Vaal system only, will in future also incorporate smaller
For some time, geohydrological exploration has concentrated on developing small-scale systems for use
by rural communities. A continuing awareness campaign has been launched, teaching communities which
rely on groundwater how to protect these resources against contamination and misuse.
Steps are also being taken to create an improved water quality monitoring service that will address
issues surrounding human health and the environment. Monitoring networks are specifically aimed at
assessing the status of water resources in terms of their potential impact on human health. Environmental
water quality monitoring remains a key requirement of effective water resources management. Efforts will
also be made to extend monitoring into an early warning system that will detect potential and emerging
water quality problems.
Besides continuing to monitor the country’s water resources, personnel of both the head office directorate
and regional components of Hydrology were deeply involved in flood management and flood warning
Flood surveys were carried out at a number of sites in the Northern Cape, Western Cape and
Mpumalanga, as part of a project aimed at establishing a flood-gauging network across the country. It is
intended to provide flood information soon after a flood event.
As part of the SADC/HYCOS project, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Swaziland and Lesotho were helped to install,
operate and maintain data collection platforms (DCPs). To date, 27 of the 50 scheduled DCPs have been
installed throughout the SADC. A regional database has been created and a project web page designed to
enable users throughout the region to gain almost immediate access to information on river levels.
As part of the continuing maintenance and development of hydrological monitoring systems, designs
were completed for 21 gauging weirs and cableway stations, 10 gauging structures were built or rebuilt,
and ratings for 100 gauging stations calculated. About 73 percent of all flow gauging stations are now
equipped with electronic data loggers.
More than 50 600 station-months of flow, reservoir and evaporation data were received, checked,
processed, and archived. Some 1 130 requests for 6 548 records were processed. Weekly bulletins on the
state of reservoirs and a daily bulletin on the status of the Vaal-Orange catchments were made available on
the departmental website.
Figure 1 depicts dam storage over the last 75 years, based on the reservoir database. It shows that
South Africa’s dams are presently storing more water than at any other time since 1925. Over the past
three to four years, storage has averaged around 90 percent.
Dam capacity has also increased over the 75-year period. Figure 2 shows how the capacity to store water
Good progress was made towards establishing a National Groundwater Information System. Two of the
nine regions implemented a pilot version of the system, developed jointly with the Tegnologie Navorsings
Organisasie (TNO) of the Netherlands.
Pilot networks were established in four areas, and guidelines for establishing regional and local
networks for groundwater monitoring are being developed. Progress was also made with the national
groundwater mapping programme; nine of 23 maps as well as the first four accompanying brochures were
Workshops and training sessions were held in the regions to build capacity for groundwater resource
Social and ecological services
A significant achievement was the publication of a policy on the recreational use of state dams. A support
system for evaluating applications for the recreational use of these dams was also developed. A total of 28
dam zoning plans were completed, all of which have been formally approved.
A priority list of South African estuaries was published in March 2000, based on a health index that
measures their importance and sensitivity.
A departmental manual on conducting environmental impact assessments (EIAs) of water resource
development projects was finalised.
A draft Standard Environmental Management and Rehabilitation Specification Manual for the
department’s construction sites was compiled. Progress was made towards developing environmental
awareness courses for construction workers at government waterworks.
A draft Standard Rehabilitation Action Plan was compiled to guide negotiations prior to the development
of new dams, particularly in respect of relocating people in dam basins.
A draft Consolidated Environmental Implementation and Management Plan (CEIMP) was prepared for
the department. A standard conformance and compliance monitoring and auditing system based on the
CEIMP is being developed.
Institute for Water Quality Studies
A Sampling Guide for Domestic Water Supplies was published in partnership with the Department of Health
as part of the continuing development of assessment guides to water quality.
Laboratories performed inorganic, organic, toxicity bio-assay, and microbiological analyses on 35 000
The Water Management System (WMS), designed to monitor, assess, and disseminate water resource
quality data and related information, was installed in two regions and at head office. It was upgraded to
ensure quality control and the traceability of water quality data.
A draft of the Water Resource Monitoring and Assessment Information Strategy (WRMAIS) — aimed at
ensuring a sound approach to water resource and ancillary information systems — was published in March
The National River Health Programme was implemented in all regions. It provides supporting
information and expertise for monitoring ecological health as an indicator of the sustainable utilisation of
Numerous site-specific impact assessments were conducted, particularly to determine biological river
quality. Several incidents of pollution were also investigated.
Surveying and mapping exercises were carried out on seven dam basins and 93 forestry plantations, and a
database for 250 plantations was established.
A process for surveying assets associated with government water schemes was initiated.
An information centre and map shop was opened, to provide the public with easy access to maps and
other material produced by the department.
Sediment surveys were conducted on 20 dams, and 57 dam structures, including the Katse and Muela
Dams in Lesotho, were surveyed for deformation.
Chief Directorate: Water Use and
To promote the equitable allocation, beneficial use and sustainability – in terms of quality
as well as quantity – of water resources via policy development, regulation, facilitation and
REVIEW OF ACTIVITIES
The mission of this chief directorate is to ensure, promote and support integrated water resource
management by all water-related statutory bodies and end users, and to provide for the sustainable use of
water to fulfil social, environmental and economic needs, based on the principles of equity and efficiency.
It houses four directorates: Water Quality Management, Water Utilisation, Water Conservation and
Catchment Management, as well as having overall responsibility for the Working for Water Programme.
DIRECTORATE: WATER CONSERVATION
The core function of this directorate is to facilitate the development and/or implementation of appropriate
policies, strategies, projects and initiatives that will promote and institutionalise water conservation and
demand management among water institutions and end users.
This was the directorate’s second year, and the transition from the National Water Conservation
Campaign to the directorate was completed.
The directorate participated in a number of policy and legislative activities, including the drafting of water
conservation elements of the Water Services Regulations and Standards; a review of SABS plumbing
standards to promote higher levels of water efficiency; the development of licensing conditions; and
guidelines to water boards for drafting their business plans.
Other key activities included contributions to a number of river basin studies, and the promotion of the
principles of Integrated Resource Planning among all water institutions. Sectoral water conservation and
demand management programmes as well as a national water conservation and demand management
strategy framework were developed.
The directorate also ran a number of awareness campaigns, developed educational material on water
conservation, and extended the 2020 Vision For Water schools project to more than 2 500 schools, many
of them rural.
The development of tools for water conservation and demand management formed an important part of
the directorate’s work; this included a review of local and foreign methodologies, and approaches to water
audits. Projects to develop benchmarks, water audits, best management practices, and train the trainer
programmes and training manuals were also begun.
The directorate continued to develop international networks and exchange programmes, including
international expert seminars conducted by three key water conservation experts from the United States,
and participation with SADC countries in water forum initiatives and conferences.
In the forthcoming year the directorate will continue to pursue these activities, but will also be involved in
a number of new initiatives, including developing National Water Act regulations, consolidating the National
Water Conservation and Water Demand strategy, and contributing to the National Water Resource
It will continue to emphasise the development of models and strategies, including a generic Water
Conservation/Water Demand Management (WC/WDM) strategy for catchment management agencies, as
well as water demand forecasting models.
International activities will be taken forward by helping to evaluate existing water protocols and treaties,
and engaging in joint planning initiatives and studies with neighbouring countries.
In the year 2000/1 steps will be taken towards integrating the 2020 Vision For Water Schools Project
with the Green Schools Project. It will also be a testing phase for WC/WDM tools developed during
DIRECTORATE: WATER QUALITY MANAGEMENT
The mission of this directorate is to ensure the integrated and sustainable management of the quality of
water resources in South Africa.
Water quality management in this country has evolved from a pollution control approach, which
concentrated on source-directed management measures; through a receiving water quality objectives
approach, which recognised the water quality requirements of receiving water users as well as the aquatic
ecosystem; to the current integrated source, remediation and resource-directed management approach.
This is the approach adopted in the National Water Act.
The first regulations gazetted under the National Water Act governed the use of water for mining and
related activities, and were aimed at protecting water resources. They were gazetted in June 1999.
Best practice guidelines on pollution prevention and water management strategies in the mining sector
were also developed.
Draft waste discharge standards regulation and the first edition of Policy and strategy: the management
of groundwater quality in South Africa were produced, as well as Phase 1 of a strategy for managing the
water quality effects of settlements. The second editions of Minimum requirements for waste disposal by
landfilling, Hazardous waste handling and disposal, and The monitoring of waste management facilities
were completed and distributed. All spheres of government, consultants, training institutions and private
sector agencies use these documents extensively.
As part of the implementation of the National Water Act, the directorate has begun to develop new water
quality policies and various regulatory instruments.
The policy document entitled Water quality management policies and strategies in the RSA is currently
being rewritten to provide for the department’s new water quality mandate as reflected in the National
Water Act. A pricing strategy for waste discharges is already being developed, and will be taken forward in
2000/1. The directorate will also complete and implement a water quality management performance
DIRECTORATE: CATCHMENT MANAGEMENT
This directorate aims to support effective water resources management via the establishment of water and
catchment management agencies, and by promoting the concept of catchment management.
The first component of the National Water Resource Strategy to be gazetted in 1999/2000 was the
declaration of 19 water management areas by this directorate.
Guidelines and procedures were developed which include the establishment of catchment management
agencies (CMAs), the establishment of new water user associations, and public participation in establishing
The criteria and protocol for the evaluation of CMA proposals were developed. This will be used to
assess a proposal received for the establishment of an Nkomati CMA during 1999.
Another function of the directorate is to support the process of transforming irrigation boards into water
user associations. By the end of February 2000, most irrigation boards in the country were consulting with
regional offices on their transformation into water user associations. Guidelines and a format for the use of
irrigation boards in developing their proposals were developed and made available.
The directorate interacted strongly with regional offices; this led to interrelationships between the
directorate and regional offices being formalised, a common understanding of catchment management
approaches and processes being established, and a joint effort made to address key issues.
Considerable energy was devoted to co-ordinating and aligning functions with other directorates and
regional offices. A capacity-building programme was begun, focusing on creating awareness, disseminating
information, and developing curricula.
DIRECTORATE: WATER UTILISATION
This directorate seeks to ensure, promote and support the efficient and equitable allocation and beneficial
use of water resources through policy development, regulation, facilitation, and monitoring. It deals with
water abstraction and storage allocations, the authorisation of afforestation development, providing support
and guidelines for systems operations of government water schemes, raw water pricing, irrigation, and
water loss control in bulk raw water supply distribution systems.
The directorate was involved in numerous policy development and implementation projects. The
instruments developed include:
• Guidelines to help with decision-making on the declaration of existing lawful use;
• Application forms for the registration and licensing of water uses related to abstraction, storage and
• Procedures for registration and licensing;
• Assessment strategies for licence applications;
• Draft policy and procedures for stream flow reduction activities;
• Draft policy and procedures for establishing advisory committees; and
• Principles for a generic framework for public participation, consultation and communication.
It also developed regulations for registering existing lawful use and trading in water use allocations.
General authorisations for water use were promulgated, as was a pricing strategy for raw water to be
implemented during 2000/1. To support the latter, an asset inventory database with associated government
water scheme infrastructure valuations was completed.
The subsidy scheme for water user associations was reviewed and will continue to be implemented in
2000/1. It provides financial assistance to emerging irrigation farmers for building or rehabilitating bulk
supply waterworks. Payments of R15 202 million were made under this scheme.
Water use surveys for determining existing lawful use for control purposes continued. Twenty-two
abstraction and storage water use applications and 42 afforestation permit applications were processed.
Work continued on the strategic environmental assessment decision support system for water use
allocations. A strategic environmental assessment pilot was begun in the Mhlatuze catchment in KwaZulu-
The introduction of new water loss control technology to major canal irrigation schemes was completed,
and a system of monthly reporting begun. A number of water control officers – most of them from
historically disadvantaged groups – were trained. Control of noxious water weeds was intensified.
The database on yield, allocations, sectoral demand, and other factors affecting the operating rules of
government water schemes was updated on 15 schemes. Policy on the transfer of state irrigation schemes
to water user associations was prepared. This will be implemented during 2000/1.
WORKING FOR WATER
This programme is aimed at clearing invading alien plants: species that have been introduced into South
Africa from elsewhere and have spread out of control. This is done to conserve ecological functioning and
biological diversity; protect the productive potential of land; reduce the frequency of intense fires and floods;
create employment opportunities and promote training for the poorest of the poor; develop secondary
industries arising from the wood, (and water, land and trained people); to enhance water security.
The department’s interest in this programme derives from the impact of invading alien plants on water
resources. These plants cause a significant reduction in runoff in some areas – and this could increase if
the plants continue to spread.
During the year under review the programme provided work for 17 639 people (28 percent youths, 54
percent women, and one percent disabled people). A total of 70 621 hectares were initially cleared, and
follow-up work done on 110 441 hectares of previously cleared land.
Standardised administrative procedures were put in place during the year to ensure that the project was
more effectively managed and also to allow better assessment and evaluation. The average cost per
hectare of clearing, including management costs, was R660.
A successful best management practices conference was held in Cape Town under the auspices of the
United States/South Africa Binational Commission. The focus on partnerships was promoted through an
arrangement with the forestry industry, which will provide a technical manager for the programme and
support on safety issues. In return, the programme will help to clear riparian zones in plantation areas over
the next 10 years.
A partnership with herbicide companies will fund a course on herbicide use as well as the production of
a policy on the sustainable, safe and effective use of herbicides.
Working for Water received the 1999 Impumelelo Award for innovation.
Chief Directorate: Regional Implementation
The effective provision of water services and water resource management in regions
throughout the country.
REVIEW OF ACTIVITIES
This chief directorate, comprising a head office and nine regional offices, operates as the executive arm of
the department and focuses on implementing water services functions and projects as well as effectively
managing the country’s water resources. The forestry programme has separate regional managements.
However, in some areas administrative support functions are shared. Sixty-nine percent of the
department’s approved posts are in the regions, and 67 percent of its budget is allocated to them.
Because of their size and complexity, Eastern Cape and Northern Province are managed by chief
directors. The same arrangement is proposed for KwaZulu-Natal, to be implemented in the near future.
Head office structures relating to the regions include the Directorate: Regional Co-ordination. Its function
is to support, direct and co-ordinate the regional offices and also to support the Chief Director: Regions in
this role. An important function of the chief directorate is to communicate with provincial governments and
co-ordinate their activities. To this end it organises regular meetings of the Minister and provincial MECs
(MINMECs), as well as a MINMEC technical committee. Bilateral provincial liaison committees address
local co-ordination issues and feed into the MINMEC.
Submissions for the various budget cycles and expenditure controls, in line with the restructured budget,
were streamlined by developing electronic processes that improved efficiency and quality and saved time.
It is a matter for concern that only 71 percent of approved posts in the chief directorate, regional
management and regional offices are filled, and that recruitment of more staff is hampered by budgetary
constraints. This impedes the performance of the regions, but the special efforts of staff have limited the
The Working for Water programme continued and was largely implemented by the regional offices,
guided by a dedicated programme manager.
The water services and sanitation project implementation programme achieved its target spending of
about R720 million. Additional funds made available by donors and grants for poverty relief and
infrastructure development made it possible to avert a budget shortfall (see table 1).
A format for a comprehensive computerised cash flow statement was developed to monitor and control
projects on a monthly basis. This mechanism enabled the regions to restrict deviations from the budget to
less than one percent. A total of 544 projects were reported on during the year (see table 1).
Working in support of the chief director and the regions, the Directorate: Regional Co-ordination helped
to develop contingency plans for managing the envisaged Y2K threat. An incident-free passover into the
new millennium demonstrated the success of this effort.
All the regions were assisted in linking personnel to approved posts. Through the estimate personnel
expenditure report from Persal, the regions were also assisted in determining their personnel budgets.
Training was provided to help the regions improve their programme and project management. All the
available project management software packages were studied to determine which one would best meet
the department’s needs. Implementation of the recommendations of the study team on improving
programme and project management in the regions started in the year under review and should be
completed during 2000/1.
All regional directors and chief directors compiled performance contracts which contain a consolidated
description of the functions and goals of each region. This has helped to improve strategic leadership in the
regions, and must be viewed as a significant attempt to improve efficiency in line with the principle of Batho
Pele (People First).
Table 1: Regional projects and expenditure, 1999/2000
EC FS GP KZ MP NW NC NP WC TOT
Projects 144 20 1 199 32 47 5 88 8 544
Regional 181 799 18 431 1 585 134 287 83 606 52 485 5 163 218 964 3 159 699 479
This region can once again look back on a successful year, despite the increasing demands of
implementing the new water acts with an understaffed establishment.
Collaborating with the Directorate: Macro Planning and Information Systems, the region published a third
edition of its Water Services Strategy as well as a projects handbook. The provincial government accepted
both these publications as guiding documents.
The Supplementary Guidelines Handbook, which sets out the starter requirements for a water service
development plan, was introduced to local authorities at a series of workshops.
Pilot studies on water service development planning were undertaken for 14 local authorities and six
district councils; the department funded these to the tune of R1,2 million. Complete status quo and five-year
plans were received for six district municipalities and 17 local municipalities. A further 13 status quo plans
were received, bringing total plans received to 36.
Three years of hard work on the sanitation programme began to pay off, with 400 toilets built in the
region. Most of the district councils have accepted the principles underlying the programme, but do not
have the capacity to put them into practice. Some towns also accept dry, onsite sanitation as a solution,
and the programme will be adapted to encompass these needs.
Water resource management
Water use registration
Water use registration has enjoyed high priority in the Northern Cape since October 1999. This regional
office is responsible for two huge water management areas: the Lower Vaal and Lower Orange.
A strategy for reaching a maximum number of water users was formulated in November 1999. A major
component of this was to run information sessions, followed by an awareness programme on registration.
Thus far about 30 information sessions have been held in both water management areas at meetings of
agricultural unions, district farmers’ unions, and farmers’ associations. Registration sessions have followed.
The Division: Water Quality is responsible for registering local authorities and mines. Most of the local
authorities in both areas have been reached, and some have been registered.
Water management areas
All the stakeholders in the region, as well as personnel in adjacent regions, were consulted on the
demarcation of water management area boundaries.
Following strategic planning, the region changed from a purely functional division of responsibilities to a
more geographical division of responsibilities. By doing so, each of the Deputy Regional Directors will take
responsibility for integrated catchment management in the two water management areas of the Lower Vaal
and Lower Orange.
Transformation of irrigation boards into water user associations
Only one irrigation board in the Lower Vaal submitted a proposal for conversion into a water user
association. Twenty-two of the 25 irrigation boards in the Lower Orange submitted proposed constitutions.
These were evaluated and tested against the guidelines and protocol. Several of them have to amalgamate
to form more viable associations. The three water boards to be transformed into water user associations
are Karos-Geelkoppan, Kalahari East, and Kalahari West.
The Boegoeberg Water Scheme will combine with Gariep, Noord-Oranje and Karos-Geelkoppan to form
The amalgamation of the Kalahari East Water Board and the Vaal Gamagara Government Water
Scheme advanced substantially. After the amalgamation, Vaal Gamagara will be converted into a water
A total of 894 million cubic metres per annum of water was supplied to the Lower Orange water
management area from the Orange River. This was supplied to 65 787,4 hectares of irrigation as well as 10
water service providers, a number of small communities, and industrial users. Since 1998, high-income
crops on the Lower Orange River have grown to encompass about 4 000 hectares.
Extensive studies were undertaken to determine the feasibility of supplementing potable Vaal River
water with ground water from Sishen Mine. Initial studies were favorable, and the first phase was
implemented. This means that 500 000 cubic metres per annum of ground water from Sishen Mine will be
supplied to the Vaal Gamagara pipeline, to be largely utilised by the Kalahari East Water Board. Other
phases being investigated include further supplementing Vaal River water with ground water, which could
drastically reduce costs to some consumers.
Plans to establish artificial recharge sites in Namaqualand were successfully studied and implemented.
Additional water resources were identified at Garies, Kammassies, Postmasburg, and Daniëlskuil.
Tests showed that it would be feasible to utilise excess ground water from mine dewatering in the
Kalahari region. The resources required to manage this process, and their potential impact on regional
resources, are being investigated. Groundwater awareness was promoted via presentations and displays
throughout the region.
During February 2000 two floods occurred in the Renoster, Riet and Fish rivers. According to information
collected from the files and farmers in these districts, the floods were more severe than those of March
1961. All the weirs and road bridges in the area were badly damaged.
Water quality management
The department and the National Nuclear Regulator (the former Council for Nuclear Safety), together with
the Water Quality Management section, proceeded with a number of projects to address the occurrence of
radioactivity in groundwater resources throughout the country. Data needed to develop a screening
methodology are being collected.
During January and February 2000, extremely high concentrations of algae occurred in the Orange
River. Blue-green algal species (cyano-bacteria) dominated, and resulted in numerous problems at water
treatment works. The main cause of this phenomenon is the contribution of water from diffuse sources
during an unusually wet season following an extended dry period.
As a result of extensive media coverage, both nationally and internationally, the rehabilitation of
asbestos dumps in the Northern Cape is receiving high priority. The Groenwater asbestos dumps have
been rehabilitated, and work is proceeding at Koegas Mine near Prieska and Whitebank near Kuruman.
The Northern Cape Working for Water programme received R9,6 million for the eradication of alien invasive
plants. The programme switched from a daily wage to a closed contracting system. Some 93 contractors
were engaged across the province, giving work to about 1 023 people.
The region also embarked on a pilot process with private land owners in the Britstown area, and
participated in a national initiative with NICRO. The programme also undertook a comprehensive AIDS
project, which ended in Upington with a play staged by programme staff.
This project was brought to 257 schools, of which 138 actively participated in water audits. In the
Namaqualand and Hantam regions, greater attention was paid to awareness aspects.
Operation and maintenance manuals for state dams are currently being compiled. The quarterly and annual
inspections are performed regularly. Thus far, 77 private dams have been surveyed for classification
purposes, and the same data has been used for the registration process.
The Northern Cape regional transformation monitoring committee held five strategic planning sessions –
one each for the committee itself, the communication forum and the employment equity policy forum, and
two for regional management.
Financial and provisioning administration
Both Programme 5 and Working for Water financial management have been centralised in the regional
director’s office, to ensure a more disciplined service. Weekly reports from the Financial Management
System (FMS II) as well as monthly cash flow calculations contributed to more efficient financial
management, making real-time data available and helping to control budgetary deviations.
The LOGIS programme was successfully implemented, to be linked to the FMS system from 1 May
2000. During the consultants’ yearly provisioning inspection, the Upington store was classified as one of the
three best stores in the department.
Health and safety
All employees have been instructed to observe the provisions of the Occupational Health and Safety Act,
no 85 of 1993. The region has completed all its letters of appointments. NOSA has arranged and
completed a ‘baseline audit’ throughout the region, and all hazards and deviators have been listed. More
than 100 contractors to the Working for Water programme have been trained in first aid and basic safety.
As Gauteng is a relatively developed province with few rural areas, only R1,65 million was allocated to
water services projects. This was used to contribute to the construction of the Alra Park Reservoir on the
East Rand. Most transitional local councils and metropolitan councils submitted water services
development plans, which now need to be updated.
Water resource management
The region is responsible for water resource management in the Upper Vaal and a part of the Crocodile
West/Marico water management areas.
Good rains fell throughout the period under review, and the major dams in the region were either full or at a
satisfactory level. All floods were routed through the dams, with minimal downstream effect. The floods
passing through the Vaal Dam were less than the one-in-20-year level. Some 2 558 million cubic metres of
water were released during the flood period (almost as much as the storage capacity of the dam). All the
warning systems, including communications with Swaziland, functioned well.
The region depends heavily on water from other catchments. A total of 540 million cubic metres of water
were transferred to South Africa from Lesotho. The Tugela–Vaal canal is being upgraded to ensure the
reliable transfer of water from the Thukela Basin to the Vaal River System. Pumping will restart towards the
end of 2000.
Water delivery for industrial use, also by Rand Water, amounted to 1 200 million cubic metres, and
water supply to Eskom and Sasol to about 250 million cubic metres. The delivery to Eskom from the Vaal,
Usutu and Komati basins has a high level of assurance, as any shortfall would have a catastrophic effect
on the country’s power generation and the economy in general. Extensive maintenance work was done on
pumping stations, pipelines, canals and dams to ensure a reliable supply of water.
The region has begun to register all water users in terms of the National Water Act.
Water quality management
The Upper Vaal water management area is one of the most intensively developed and populated areas in
South Africa. Catchment studies are being conducted to enable a comprehensive catchment management
strategy to be formulated. Situational analyses have been completed on the Blesbok Spruit, Klip River,
Mooi River and Grootdraai catchments, while two catchment studies have been conducted on the Waterval
Interim water quality objectives have been developed for most of the Upper Vaal subcatchments via
participation by stakeholders. These are used for effective catchment management. The Vaal Barrage
catchment executive committee, established to manage water quality in this catchment, is currently re-
examining and refining the interim objectives for those subcatchments draining to the Vaal Barrage.
A group of five gold mines began investigating the formation of a commercially viable water treatment
utility which would treat water pumped from underground to a standard suitable for household use.
Progress has been made, but various other options need to be investigated.
A strategic water management plan for the Apies/Pienaars River catchment is being developed, and
consultants will be appointed to help complete it.
Progress has been made with issuing permits. In the Upper Vaal water management area, 13 permits
for sewage works have been issued, and 15 more are being processed. Several permits for general waste
disposal sites, gold mines and industries have been issued or are being processed. All the permits for
major sewage treatment works in the Pretoria/Johannesburg area have been amended in line with the
National Water Act.
The region experienced torrential rains, which caused several flood-related water quality problems. To
address them, a crisis management committee was formed, supported by a ministerial visit to the area.
This region, in partnership with North West and relevant head office directorates, have appointed
consultants to help establish a catchment management agency for the Crocodile West/Marico water
management area. The process is due to be completed by the end of 2001. Public participation and
stakeholder involvement are being promoted via forums, some of which still have to be established.
To promote catchment management in the Upper Vaal, this water management area has been
subdivided into three subcatchment areas. Nine of 13 envisaged forums have been established. A structure
is being established for co-ordinating the forums and management activities in the three subcatchments.
These structures will facilitate the establishment of a catchment management agency for this area.
Because this catchment is so complex, this will take longer than the process envisaged for the
Crocodile/Marico water management area.
Recent hydrological studies have indicated that the Vaal River System yields less water than previously
calculated. A water demand management programme will be launched as one of the measures aimed at
ensuring adequate supplies until a further water transfer scheme becomes necessary. Working for Water
projects continued in both the Gauteng and North West regions, with R7,4 million being spent in these
Health and safety
NOSA has completed a baseline audit on the implementation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act at
all area offices, and has helped to train several employees at each area office in health and safety. All the
personnel required by the act have been appointed and are performing well.
The region has drawn up an employment equity plan aimed at improving representivity.
The regional office has ensured that regular transformation forum meetings, employee committee
meetings at area offices and general staff meetings are held and that issues raised are followed up.
The regional office and area offices drafted work plans for implementing transformation objectives.
Employee committees are currently monitoring and revising these. There is also a drive to improve
communication via transformation structures by ensuring that all policy documents are discussed with staff.
The regional transformation forum drives the programme to ensure that the process does take place.
The Eastern Cape received R178 million for the year under review. Of this, R89 million was allocated to the
Build, Operate, Train and Transfer (BoTT) programme; R10,7 million to sanitation; R26 million to the Wild
Coast Spatial Development Initiative; and R31,5 million to 22 projects under the European Union support
A forum comprising senior departmental officials and representatives of district councils and local
governments has been formed to manage and co-ordinate transfers, institutional capacity-building, the
water services development planning process, and the impact of the demarcation process on all listed
Ten projects were completed during the financial year, increasing the total figure of people served to
more than 1,2 million. All 22 water projects forming part of the European Union programme are due to be
completed by end May 2000. Of these, eight are in the mentorship phase. It is estimated that 306 600
people will be served with water under this programme. Twenty-two sanitation projects are continuing; the
emphasis is mainly on health and hygiene, with subsidies of only R100 being paid in the form of building
The monitoring and evaluation unit has extended its functions. It is making highly reliable information
available which is utilised not only by departmental staff, but also by other provincial departments and local
authorities. Information obtained from this unit has helped project managers to perform their tasks more
Information sessions and awareness campaigns on water services development plans have resulted in
increased demands for helping local authorities to compile these plans. Valuable lessons have been learnt
from those local authorities currently working on their plans. Several applications and draft plans have been
received from others.
An Implementation of Sustainable Water Institution Programme project is being piloted in the Wild Coast
District Council area; if it succeeds, it will further enhance the region’s strategy for supporting local
authorities. A committee formed jointly by this department and the Department of Provincial and Local
Government will focus on strengthening the capacity of local authorities.
The Amatola Water Board completed its second year of operation. Much attention was paid to ring-
fencing water works, transferring infrastructure to the board and defining its managerial responsibilities; this
process is due to be completed during the next financial year. Almost all staff transfers were finalised.
High priority was given to the rehabilitation of irrigation schemes previously operated and maintained by
parastatal bodies established by the homelands of Transkei and Ciskei. Following years of neglect, most of
these irrigation schemes are no longer functioning. Attempts were made to rehabilitate the schemes at
Qamata, Ncora, Malenge, and Keiskammahoek.
These efforts began in the 1998/9 financial year and will continue for several years, depending on
funding. Nearly R4 million was allocated in the 1999/2000 budget, and effectively spent. The region
employed several consultants to help it manage the rehabilitation programme, and most of the physical
rehabilitation was done on a labour-intensive basis. Where this was not cost-effective, the region made use
of the national Directorate: Construction.
Cost recovery was again high on the list of priorities, and several million rands were collected from ‘new’
water users who had either not been billed or had not paid for water. Revenue collection at water services
schemes is still very slow, and continuing discussions with transitional local councils and district councils
will hopefully result in a positive reaction from water users. The region exceeded the revenue target for the
water trading account of R33 million for the 1999/2000 financial year by R4 million.
Water resource management
Despite the personnel and budget constraints, this division continued to perform extremely well. One new
gauging weir was completed at Mngazi River, and four primary weirs in the Umtata region were upgraded.
Some R1,45-million was spent on these improvements.
Data from 341 gauging points throughout the Eastern Cape are collected daily, weekly or monthly by
departmental collectors and in some cases private observers.
Although nearly all the flow gauging stations and boreholes are equipped with electronic data capturing
devices, the computer network and equipment failed to meet expectations. Most information is being
Water quality management
Staff members in the water quality management section achieved the impossible by processing 74
exemptions for the treatment and disposal of sewage and other effluents before the 31 September
deadline, prior to the implementation of the National Water Act in October 1999. This successfully
eliminated the backlog that had developed as a result of staff shortages and the incorporation of the former
homelands of Transkei and Ciskei.
Staff members also addressed the unsatisfactory solid waste sites at Papiesfontein at Jeffreys Bay,
Dimbaza at King William’s Town, and Ducats at East London. New solid waste sites were established at
Cala, Elliot, Mqanduli and Qumbu. Considerable progress has been made towards establishing the
proposed Roundhill regional solid waste site at East London, a new site for Port St Johns, and the
proposed Coega harbour and industrial development project.
Pilot programmes for managing the impact on water quality by dense settlements at Grahamstown and
Port Alfred were launched. Despite initial difficulties, they are progressing well
The conversion of irrigation boards into water user associations progressed well but, for various reasons,
did not fully meet expectations. Some smaller boards are reluctant to make the change. However, a
number of applications have been received, and some have already been submitted to the Minister for
approval. The establishment of water user associations to replace four defunct parastatals in the former
Transkei and Ciskei are progressing well, and three applications have been submitted. However, several
queries have been received from the fourth parastatal, which will have to be dealt with before an application
can be submitted.
Eventually, it was decided not to establish 23 water user associations at the four schemes as was
initially planned, but only one for each scheme. Two catchment management agency public information
meetings were held in Umtata and Port Elizabeth. The attendance was excellent, and two requests to
establish catchment management agencies have been received from major irrigation boards.
An investigation into water use in the Seekoei River catchment has been completed, and further action will
be decided on in due course. The Institute of Water Resources investigated and determined the instream
low-flow requirements in the upper reaches of the Umzimvubu River catchment. Consultants carried out
several afforestation permit reinspections. Certain aspects of the new Water Act were implemented. The
Water Use Authorisation and Registration Management System was developed, and the registration of
water users is progressing well.
Risk-based evaluations of 60 state dams were completed. Operation and maintenance manuals and
emergency action plans were compiled for 20 dams. Civil logbooks were reinstated at 70 dams. Dam safety
legislation was implemented at all non-state dams.
The Directorate Water Resources Planning, in collaboration with the Eastern Cape region, initiated a basin
study in the Mtata River catchment as an input towards a catchment management strategy and the
National Water Resources strategy. A basin study has also been initiated in Pondoland, to determine how
water supplies to Lusikisiki can be augmented. The development of catchment management strategies in
the Zwartkops and Mtata catchments is progressing well.
A new Working for Water division was established in the department’s regional offices in King William’s
Town. The Learn to Value Water project in Grahamstown, based on the 12-point water conservation plan,
progressed well, and valuable experience was gained which could be applied to similar projects elsewhere.
A Learn to Value Water project was also successfully implemented in the Peddie peri-urban area. A new
water scheme had been completed in that area, and it was thus necessary to build capacity in and around
During the year under review the Corporate Services section consolidated its activities and adopted a work
ethic and professional approach that has made it even more efficient and effective.
Human resource management
Due to delays involving the Department of Finance and the South African Revenue Service, serious
difficulties are still being experienced with processing voluntary severance packages and pension
payments. About 700 cases remain unresolved.
Major breakthroughs have been made in finalising 164 terminations due to abscondments. There have
been five terminations due to fraud and corruption. The recent appointment of a labour relations officer for
the region has led to constructive negotiations with unions, the establishment of water services
restructuring committees, and the finalisation of transfers to the Amatola Water Board and other water
Following buy-ins by unions, the restructuring and rationalisation of the region is almost complete. Many
staff members in overstaffed areas have been redeployed to critically understaffed areas. The staff
advisory committee has successfully dealt with all outstanding assessments, finalising more than 2 010
Finance and provisioning
For the first time in many years the region ended the financial year with its books closed and a nil balance,
with most accounts cleared. It underwent six audits, including a full audit by the Auditor-General’s office, all
of which reflected a 95 percent compliance; only seven minor housekeeping issues were identified.
Previous interventions such as the establishment of regional provisioning internal audit units, pre-audit
screening, the upgrading and utilisation of unproductive accommodation areas, and continual training and
retraining has resulted in compliance with all treasury and State Tender Board requirements. The
provisioning unit ended the financial year with only current orders outstanding. Major milestones included
132 successful stock inspections, resulting in the disposal of obsolete and redundant items and equipment.
The area office in Umtata will soon move into more suitable accommodation.
Of the R123 million allocated to Mpumalanga for capital projects, about R115 million were certified as spent
during the year. Of this, about R41,8 million was spent on projects under the BoTT programme, R45 million
on non-BoTT projects, and R23 million on items carried over from the 1998/9 financial year. Other
implementing agents such as district councils, the Mvula Trust and water boards were also utilised.
Special attention was paid to improving the sustainability, optimisation and transferability of BoTT
The sanitation programme also gathered momentum, and projects valued at about R5 million were
approved for management by the Provincial Sanitation Committee (ProSCo).
The region completed a Mpumalanga Water Services Business Definition (MWSBD) and is currently
establishing a regional information centre. Part of this involves capturing WSBD information in a
Geographic Information System database. This centre will be responsible for providing information on water
services to all stakeholders.
Work on eight BoTT projects was completed during the past year, providing about 407 059 people with
potable water. Work on three more projects intended to serve 138 000 people were still continuing at the
end of the year.
An assistant director was appointed for the Institutional and Social Development section, which
improved its guidance and direction. Better relationships were forged with all stakeholders, and successful
forums established. Many transitional local councils were visited personally, and support requirements
identified. An operational Institutional and Social Development framework to provide strategic direction has
been developed. Assisted by the Mpumalanga Water Sector Support Unit funded by DFID, the region has
also initiated a support programme for WSDPs which enables authorities to table their needs and present
reports on their constraints and weaknesses.
The seven major works in the region continued to supply purified water to various communities. About
90 million cubic metres of water were supplied to about 2 433 662 people, and about 1,28 million cubic
metres were supplied from boreholes and small electrical pump stations. All the major sewage works
operated according to SABS standards. The total effluent handled was 27 698 megalitres. Total operational
costs amounted to R114 million.
The transfer of regional schemes, which began in the previous financial year, continued with the
establishment of senior official working groups participating in the district transfer forums. The water supply
systems at Nelspruit were transferred to the transitional local council on 1 November 1999.
A number of transitional local councils were billed for water use, with R28 million remaining unpaid. This
is of great concern, and will have to be followed up.
During February 2000, heavy rains badly damaged bulk water infrastructure, such as weirs, gauging
stations, pipelines and farm dams, resulting in the disruption of potable water supply to more than a million
people in the Nkomazi, Nsikazi and Eastvaal districts.
This section/division embarked on immediate crisis relief, supported by the existing BoTT contractor as
well as the current term maintenance contractor in the Nsikazi areas.
Emergency services were provided to avert a health crisis. Temporary water systems were erected,
access roads to strategic water infrastructure repaired, water trucks used, and bleach distributed to isolated
areas to ensure that surface water was disinfected for drinking purposes. These actions were accompanied
by intensive public liaison programmes. Reinstatement of infrastructure began as soon as the emergency
services were in place. Food intervention cost an estimated R33,3 million.
Water resource management
Bulk water supply
All the dams in the region are currently spilling, and high base flows are expected throughout the winter
months. The income levels in especially the lower Komati were minimal as result of the good rains. Users
are not yet scheduled, and are charged on volumetric releases from the Driekoppies Dam. These were
minimal, and users were only charged to comply with international requirements.
Inkomati operating rules
The Inkomati System Operation Task Group (ISOTG) has made substantial progress and has divided the
system’s operation into different modules. The purpose of this is to operate the system to a standard and
according to rules acceptable to the countries involved, ie South Africa, Swaziland and Mozambique.
Water users and registration
While the region has identified the main target groups for the registration process, not much progress has
been made with registration itself. Forms have been sent out to users, but the response to date has been
weak. It has developed a strategy to involve users, but support from head office is required to make it
succeed. Resources and budgets are limited, and current functions may be neglected as well. However,
following a consultative process, it expects the response to improve considerable, and it will possibly only
need to employ temporary people for a year to capture and initially manage the Water Use Authorisation
and Registration Management System.
Almost all irrigation boards have applied for conversion into water user associations. Some other users
have indicated that they will organise themselves into water user associations and/or multidisciplinary
With the implementation of the National Water Act, the Afforestation Review Panel became a functional
Licence Assessment Advisory Committee for Stream Flow Reduction Activities (SFRA). Progress during
the year was slow, mostly due to a shortage of personnel and an additional workload in wetlands.
A successful stakeholder workshop on a strategic environmental assessment for SFRA was held in
Nelspruit in April 1999, bringing new and relevant water and land use sectors and stakeholders to the
Total expenditure on this programme was R15,40 million, funded from the trading account, poverty relief,
and by the Finnish government. Some 1 733 jobs were created directly, and 150 via secondary industries.
Funds were allocated to land owners who were prepared to manage clearance work themselves. More
partnerships were created, and some transitional local councils, including Nelspruit, as well as the toll road
company Trans African Concessions (TRAC), paid for their own clearance.
Water users in the Olifants and Inkomati areas were involved in the drafting of proposals to the Minister for
establishing catchment management agencies. These processes were progressing well in both areas, and
the Inkomati proposal is being finalised for submission to the Minister.
The water line function has 1 380 approved posts; 95 percent of the linking of personnel to posts was done
during the year. The five percent outstanding because of parity and incorrect posts will be rectified and
linked to the establishment by the Directorate: Human Resource Management and Work Study. The region
is seconding 530 officials from the Western Highveld District to the Ikangala Water Board.
Health and safety
Following the appointment of NOSA as health and safety consultant, the health and safety programme
improved dramatically. A total of 37 officials were injured on duty. Injuries ranged from cuts caused by
wood and tools, to snake bites in the plantations. One official was killed in a vehicle accident in the Forestry
After being vacant for a few months, the post of communications officer was filled in February 1999. The
floods attracted much attention to this region, and the communication section helped to liaise with the
media as well as with other stakeholders. It was also involved in National Water Week, which was again
A total of R18,2 million was spent on 17 water services projects in the region. Only three new projects were
begun, namely the Koffiefontein Emergency Pipeline, the QwaQwa Operate, Train and Transfer, and
Thaba Nchu Rural Household Sanitation. Some R10,3 million was spent on these projects.
The prolonged drought in the southern Free State and particularly the Riet River catchment caused a
severe water shortage. The Kalkfontein Dam stopped providing water for irrigation in April 1998, and only
Koffiefontein and the De Beers Mine at this town could be supplied with water.
In April 1999 it became clear that emergency supplies would be needed from the Orange Riet canal
some 40 kilometres away. The only solution would be to build a pipeline from the Orange Riet canal to
Koffiefontein, at a cost of R14 million, to solve the water supply crisis and also ensure the continuation of
diamond mining by De Beers, securing jobs for at least 1 200 people. The Free State government asked
the department to contribute to the project. The project was co-funded by the department, the Free State
provincial government, De Beers, and the Bloem Area District Council. The project began to supply water
on 20 March 2000. This was the first project in the Free State to be co-funded by three tiers of government
and a private company.
Goudveld Water took over operations and maintenance in the former QwaQwa on 1 September 1998,
with funding provided by the department. Costs are not being recovered; as a result, a cost recovery project
was launched during the year. This included a public awareness campaign, the establishment of a
databank on consumers and the water network, the installation of water meters for large and industrial
users, and the implementation of a flat rate payment system for rural consumers. The collecting of money
will start early in the next financial year.
Water resource management
Registration of water users
The registration of water users began in October 1999, undertaken by the regional office and the area
managers of the Orange-Riet, Sand-Vet and Gariep Dam Government Water Schemes. Fifteen information
meetings were held with study groups, farmers’ associations and advisory committees throughout the
region, and water users were informed that officials from the department would be available to help them
complete the application forms.
Water quality management
This section focused most of its attention on resource-directed measures for the two water management
areas in the region, the Middle Vaal and Upper Orange.
It also gave priority to developing water quality strategies for the Sand-Vet catchment, the Klerksdorp-
Orkney-Stilfontein-Hartbeesfontein area (KOSH), and the Modder-Riet Catchment.
The Sand-Vet catchment committee has been established; this is a major step towards establishing
integrated water management and a catchment management agency for the Middle Vaal.
The hydrometry division did extensive work on the gauging network in the region. This was done to improve
the quality of the data gathered at gauging stations. Despite its limited resources and financial constraints,
this division still managed to maintain a network of good quality and produce hydrological data of a high
The real-time satellite data collecting system was extended to the southern Free State, allowing real-
time information to be obtained throughout the province. Flood monitoring and flood routing will therefore
be much easier in future. Electrical power is being installed at the important outstations, which will alleviate
the problem of the theft of solar panels and other equipment.
Health and safety
The following issues were addressed in 1999:
• The identification and review of occupational health and safety policies and standards, followed by the
development and implementation of new policies for personal protection equipment;
• The election of people from each scheme to serve as representatives on safety committees;
• The training of 26 health and safety representatives in the region and the training of 219 officials for
occupational health and safety purposes;
• The completion of all other appointments required by the act for inspection purposes. A total of 200
officials were appointed in the region, including the chief executive officer responsible for health and
safety, the person responsible for machinery, hazardous substance controllers, and so on. These
appointments remain valid for one year.
After the June National Transformational Forum, the region analysed progress as well as the lack thereof.
A new plan, based on the eight key areas identified at the June workshop, was adopted after a regional
meeting and implemented together with related action plans. New elections were held and new forums
introduced to manage transformation within each line function, with a new regional transformation subforum
in place to drive and monitor the process.
Action plans have been developed. Elected members who were unable to fulfil their functions have been
trained in literacy and computer skills.
Various problems were identified and resolved after intervention by the respective subforums, and the
regional forum was kept abreast of all transformation issues. Meetings are held once a month, and minutes
are submitted to managers for information and intervention if and when necessary.
The KwaZulu-Natal regional office resumed work on 10 projects that had been put on hold due to budget
constraints in the previous year. Work proceeded on 96 projects, including 31 sanitation projects. The
mentoring of 63 projects, of which 17 were completed during the financial year, continued. A total of 62
projects are still being planned.
A total of R136 million was made available for water services projects. Through strict and efficient
financial controls, expenditure was restricted to a revised budget of R134 million, bringing total expenditure
on the water services infrastructure investment programme to R668 million since 1994.
A total of 63 rural projects have been completed to date, serving 830 000 people.
Once completed, the 96 ongoing projects will provide 600 000 people with safe drinking water,
increasing the total number of people served in KwaZulu-Natal to about 1,4 million.
Due to the low volumes of water sold, cost recovery is generally problematic in the initial stages after
projects have been completed. On a number of projects, up to 70 percent of operations and maintenance
costs are being recovered from consumers. The shortfall is currently being covered by local authorities
(district councils) from their portion of the Equitable Share allocation received from the Department of
Provincial and Local Government.
As part of the project implementation cycle, institutions and consumer awareness are being developed
to create an environment and culture of payment for water services. Maintenance staff are being
redeployed to improve the department’s service to regional local councils; these staff members will first be
seconded and then transferred to regional local councils over the next two years.
The department owns 46 water works in KwaZulu-Natal. Twenty-six of these are operated under full
contract. The relevant local councils supplied by these works pay for these services in full from the
Equitable Share allocation received from the Department of Provincial and Local Government, with no cost
to this department. The remaining 20 works are operated by departmental staff, with contracted
management and supervision.
The operational cost of water works was about R13 million. This was made up of staff salaries and
related costs, management and supervision contracts, and the operation, maintenance and limited
refurbishment of plants. A cost recovery programme was begun.
Water resource management
Good rains fell during the early months of 2000 and filled all the state dams in KwaZulu-Natal. Only isolated
flood events were experienced, but extended submergence of the Pongola flood plain caused crop losses.
The main challenge has been to progressively implement the National Water Act. All water use must be
registered; by the end of March 2000 some 8 000 partially completed registration forms had been
forwarded to water users. The first water use licence has been issued. The KwaZulu-Natal Afforestation
Licence Review Panel continues to advise on the granting of licences.
As part of the process to consult meaningfully with stakeholders, some 30 catchment liaison forums
have been established. This consultation is essential for developing proposals to establish catchment
A total of 25 irrigation boards asked to be converted into water user associations. Their draft
constitutions are being evaluated.
A new measuring weir, below the Paris Dam on the Bivane River, has been commissioned. A data
evaluation and network planning component has been established to improve the quality of the collected
hydrometric data. Electronic data loggers have been installed at 156 measuring weirs, lowering costs and
improving data quality.
Eight boreholes were sited and commissioned for the regional groundwater monitoring network.
A further six boreholes for the southern Durban groundwater resource monitoring network were
commissioned. The geohydrology section also assessed the geohydrological impacts of permit applications
for 20 landfill sites.
The Working for Water programme continues to excel; a further 6 000 hectares were cleared, and follow-up
operations continued on previously cleared areas. During March 2000 the programme gave work to 10 700
Water Quality Management
The rehabilitation of abandoned coal mine dumps at Nonsana and Talana near Dundee has largely been
completed. The construction team is now working on the abandoned Gladstone colliery near Vryheid. It is
also busy with emergency works at the abandoned Indumeni mine, whose seepage is adversely affecting
the quality of water in the Wasbank River.
The Sappi-Saiccor sea outfalls were extended by 3 kilometers, which resolved many of the discoloration
and foam problems that had previously been experienced. Regular monitoring has indicated that all of the
other sea outfalls on the KwaZulu-Natal coastline are functioning satisfactorily, with the exception of the
Umbogitwini sea outfalls, where occasional discoloration in the sea has been noted. This issue is being
A number of spills have occurred as a result of road tanker accidents on the N3 highway. Officials from
the region have worked in closely with provincial authorities to minimise any adverse impacts that these
spills may have on the water environment.
Samples were taken and charges laid following a spill of contaminated storm water from the Shongweni
Considerable effort has been directed at resolving nuisance conditions at the Bissasar Road landfill in
Durban. This landfill was started many years ago, and it is situated in an urban area. It does not have an
adequate buffer strip and needs to be operated to very high standards to minimise smells, noise, dust and
other unacceptable conditions. Other major landfills in KwaZulu-Natal are also being actively monitored,
and a general improvement in waste management standards is evident.
The region’s transformation forum has continued to function, and a number of meetings and events have
been arranged to promote social integration and an exchange of ideas. This forum has continued to define
priority issues requiring managerial attention.
Capital projects moved at a slower pace than in previous years. The Lotlhakane water supply project in the
Central District Council area and the Koffiekraal project in the Rustenburg District Council area were
completed. The department was actively involved in three water projects (Witkleigat Water Supply, Taung
Bulk Water, and Winterveld Water Supply), one sanitation project, and refurbishment work on four
schemes. Total expenditure was R52,3 million. Due to insufficient funds, the R80 million Winterveld Water
Supply Project, a presidential lead project, has not yet been completed.
Business plans totalling R18 million were compiled for three new rural water supply projects at Magalies
Water, North West Water and Goudveld Water.
Some previously completed projects experienced problems related to vandalism, illegal connections,
and poor cost-recovery. Local authorities will need support and capacity if they are to function efficiently as
water services authorities.
Good progress was made by the five district councils, of which three district councils were assisted in
drafting their water services development plans.
The transfer of the Hartebeespoort government water scheme to a user association is nearly complete.
Good progress has been made in this regard.
Transferring responsibility for operating and maintaining water services to water service authorities, as
well as transferring assets to water boards and local authorities, continued at a slower pace for the
• A lack of managerial capacity among most local authorities, and their fears of the implications of taking
• Unresolved issues, such as the extent of refurbishment work necessary on the schemes, the number of
personnel to be transferred from water boards and their remuneration, and financial support to local
authorities as a result of poor cost recovery and support to the indigent.
The transfer of personnel to the Hartebeespoort irrigation board is almost complete. Personnel were
seconded to the board to maintain continuity.
Water resource management
The region straddles three water management areas: the Crocodile–Marico, the Middle Vaal, and the
Lower Vaal. It actively supports the Free State, Northern Cape and Gauteng in managing their areas.
Establishing a catchment management agency for the Crocodile River is regarded as a priority. A
consortium of consultants was appointed in 1999 to help the department complete a feasibility study and
establish the Crocodile–Marico catchment management agency. The region is actively involved with the
Gauteng region and head office in this process.
Substantial progress has been made in acquiring information on users. The Buffelspoort area, which
includes a government water scheme and an irrigation board, was used as a pilot study. Despite attempts
to raise awareness with advertisements, posters, talks and so on, the turnout for the registration meetings
was not encouraging. Alternative avenues will be used in the remaining areas.
A total of 67 permits (35 for mines and industries, and 32 for sewage works) were identified in the course of
a permit upgrading project; of these, 23 have been issued. The permits require the exemptees to develop
and implement water management plans for improving effluent quality, bio-monitoring and storm water
management, and communicating with interested and affected parties.
The 2020 Vision played an important role in creating awareness in schools. The Department of Education
also committed itself to the project. Schools that produced the most outstanding results won prizes donated
by Amplats. In October 1999 schools also participated in the Harties Water Festival, whose theme was
Zoning plans for 15 dams in the region were completed and approved by the Minister. The zoning of the
Hartebeespoort Dam was provisionally approved, pending some further work on the plan. The process for
creating institutional structures to manage the recreational use of the various dams began on a priority
Early in February 2000 the rivers flowing into the Limpopo River were severely flooded. The peak releases
of 877 cumec from Hartebeespoort Dam exceeded the previous levels of about 600 cumec recorded in
1996, but because the river had been cleared much less damage was done. The clearing work was done
under the Kwena project forming part of the Working For Water programme. The contingency plans drafted
for the Y2K project and the well-functioning disaster centres helped to manage the floods properly.
The flood damage in North West was not as extensive as in other regions. Nevertheless, crops, roads
and irrigation systems were badly damaged, and a number of houses flooded.
With the financial assistance from the Danish Development Agency (Danida), the region embarked on a
programme to equip 25 managers and supervisors with managerial and leadership skills. This enabled
strategic and core business management to be improved. The aligned leadership required for the
transformation process and related activities was enhanced by this training. This programme was a pilot for
the department’s national and strategic leadership development programme.
Working groups on equity, training, communications, and grievance and disciplinary structures are active in
the regional office. These committees facilitate solutions, and monitor progress.
Following the promulgation of the Water Services Act, this office is more involved in monitoring and
promoting efficient water services than in implementing water services projects. The monitoring of water
services provided to informal settlements such as Madallas Bos has received special attention. The
department is coaching local authorities in how to ensure sustainable service delivery to their resettlement
and housing projects. This regulatory role is impacting on the way in which water services development
plans are being rolled out in the Western Cape.
An estimated 106 000 people in this region are still without adequate water supplies. Phase 1 of three
rural water supply schemes has been implemented in conjunction with the West Coast District Council, and
is delivering water to 3 908 people. These three schemes – Rooi Karoo, Koringberg and Goudapad – are
situated in the Swartland, an area well known for water scarcity and poor groundwater quality.
The operation and maintenance of all completed community water supply schemes have been
transferred to implementing agents. Transfer of the assets of the schemes will be finalised once the formal
policy has been approved.
The Provincial Sanitation Task Team (PSTT) has begun to function and has co-ordinated the Farm
Dweller Sanitation Pilot Projects. The PSTT has found that the greatest need for sanitation is in the peri-
urban areas. A rural group has been established to look after rural sanitation issues, and a peri-urban
group to look after urban and peri-urban sanitation issues.
The starter requirements programme for the Water Services Development Plans (WSDP) was
workshopped with local authorities and installed on local authorities’ computer systems. Most of the larger
authorities have provided the required information. A WSDP appraisal committee is being trained.
Water resource management
The region restructured itself in order to implement the National Water Act and Water Services Act in an
Four catchment management units, which coincide with the four proclaimed water management areas,
have been established and will be led by a catchment manager heading a multidisciplinary team; the
department remains responsible for managing each water management area as a catchment management
agency. These units will be supported by multidisciplinary commissions, which will focus on the following
functional areas: resource-directed measures, source-directed control, water services, forestry, systems
maintenance and data collection, information systems, and corporate services.
A number of new forums was established and existing forums revived to build the network of public
participation bodies meant to help establish catchment management agencies. The Breede River Basin
study initiated by Project Planning and a DANCED-funded project will be used to lead these processes in
the Breede River and Olifants/Doorn Water management areas.
In January 2000 the Lower Olifants River Water User Association became the first association of its kind
to be established in the country. It will manage water use on the lower Olifants River (Vredendal district). All
the irrigation boards in the region were helped to draw up constitutions for changing into water user
associations, and all have given notice that they intend doing so.
Water quality management
The traditional functions and linkages of regional water quality management have been reassessed. The
traditional functions of exempting effluent disposal and monitoring and auditing industrial water use and
effluent disposal is continuing.
However, in a parallel process, new policies in terms of the National Water Act are being developed;
these require that reserves be determined and rivers classified before water use licences can be issued.
Water quality management has therefore taken on a resource-directed measures approach, to cater for the
environmental management required by the National Water Act.
The department and the Water Research Commission are currently funding studies to determine the
volumes of groundwater that can be practically and sustainably extracted from the Table Mountain Group
Aquifer, as well as to gain an insight into the effects of groundwater abstraction on surface water resources
and reliant ecosystems. Studies are centred on the Olifants/Doorn Water Management Area near Citrusdal,
and the Gourits Water Management Area near Oudtshoorn. Two core drilling teams and one water drilling
team provided support to geohydrological and water planning studies in these areas.
Strategies for licensing and registering the 11 water uses as defined in the National Water Act have been
developed and implemented in the four water management areas. A series of public information sessions
on the implications of the act, and especially on the registration of water uses, was held in all four areas.
In May 1999 the Minister inaugurated the Ceres Dam, which is augmenting the water supply in the
Ceres–Koekedouw area. About 121 emerging farmers have been identified for settlement on the land,
which can now be irrigated from the enlarged water supply. This process has been partly funded from the
departmental trading account.
The department is also involved in developing irrigation schemes for other groups of emerging farmers.
Projects are being co-ordinated by the Water Resources Action Committee, consisting of officials from the
departments of Water Affairs and Forestry, Agriculture, Land Affairs, and Cape Nature Conservation.
The programme achieved two major goals during the past year: it aligned itself with the new National Water
Act and the principles of catchment management, and all project teams were switched from a daily wage
system to a closed or negotiated contract system. This resulted in more productive and streamlined
projects, giving the stakeholders maximum value for their money.
The Western Cape Working for Water programme implemented projects funded with 45 percent of the
national programme budget. Some 54 projects were run with funds from the water users trading account
and the poverty relief fund. Some R60 million was spent, and work created for 4 000 people.
Government water schemes
There are 34 government dams in this region, of which 11 are being operated by other agencies such as
irrigation boards. Maintenance work has been done on mechanical components such as outlet valves and
sluices at the Clanwilliam, Bulshoek, Gamkapoort and Palmiet dams. Corrosion protection and concrete
restoration work was done at Clanwilliam Dam.
A hydraulic cableway was constructed at Aspoort, and gauging weirs at Diepriver and Rooiriver. The
construction of a mobile hydraulic river gauging system is nearing completion.
Some 97 percent of the gauging stations are now equipped with electronic data loggers, and real-time
data from five gauging sites are now available via cellular and telephone modems. Hydras 3, Hydac 5 and
Prolog software programmes were implemented to improve the efficiency of the data management and
To ensure adherence to general departmental financial management policies, the Medium-Term
Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and the Public Finance Management Act of 1999, an Expenditure and
Income Committee (EIC) was inaugurated and a cash flow and reporting system established to monitor
over- and underspending on a monthly basis. As a result, the region was 95 percent within budget at year
On the revenue side, all the clients in the region have been entered into an integrated revenue control
and tariff system, and a checklist is used to verify all billings against the relevant tariffs. The revenue target
for the year was also achieved.
Human resource management
For the first time, personnel evaluation of all employees was conducted for the same period (1997/8). This
mammoth task had to be undertaken over several months, in conjunction with the transformation
The region also conducted an extensive HIV-AIDS awareness campaign in all the area offices, and will
continue to give attention to this threat.
Transformation in the region began to unfold in November 1997 with the formation of a regional
employment equity committee. The transformation structures were concretised by the formation of a
regional transformation forum and four transformation subforums for the period 1998/9: one for each area
office (Vredendal, Bellville, George and Worcester) as well as for what are now called water management
areas (Olifantsdoring, Berg, Breede, Gouritz).
Various workshops and training sessions were also held to address policy documents, public service
regulations, and various other aspects. During this process a regional transformation business plan was
also developed, based on the national transformation framework developed at Grasdak I and II.
Transformation priorities should also be sharply focused to ensure that real deliverables are achieved after
a given period – so that ordinary staff members can see and feel ‘real’ change happening in the
A total of R218,8 million was allocated to this region for the year under review. Projects under construction
will benefit 152 540 people after completion.
Cost recovery remains a major problem in this region, and concerted efforts will have to be introduced to
address a very unhealthy situation.
The region is operating 87 regional schemes, most of which were inherited from former homelands. This
is a temporary arrangement, and the department is taking part in a process to support local government in
building capacity. In certain cases the transfer of responsibility and infrastructure is already feasible, and
transfer initiatives are taking place in the following areas: Phalaborwa, Duiwelskloof, Giyani, Thohoyandou,
Polokwane/Pietersburg and Potgietersrus. The Bushbuckridge scheme as a whole is in the process of
being transferred to the Bushbuckridge Water Board. Several other projects are earmarked for transfer to
Lepelle Northern Water.
During the heavy rains which occurred during February and March, extensive damage occurred to water
supply schemes serving more than 2 million people. The region is busy with temporary emergency
remedial work to supply water to affected communities. The initial estimated cost for the flood damage is
R100 million, and a business plan compilation is in progress.
Water services planning
Area (APF) and provincial planning forums (PPF) were held bi-monthly. Area consultants helped to draft
the minutes, agendas, supporting documents, budgets for capital projects and programmes of other
departments (such as Health, which needed to get water to its clinics). Attendance of transitional local
council (TLC) members and provincial officials improved during the year. By bringing the plans of different
departments together at the APF and PPF, we started to solve the problems. These forums remain the only
regular gatherings where TLCs can talk to officials, raise their problems, and prioritise projects in their
Workshops on Water Services Development Plans were held with all the rural TLCs. The region is in the
process of installing diskettes, with the starter requirement, on the computers of all TLCs. This will enable
TLCs, with external assistance, to complete their own plans.
The water services planning section is also part of the process that will result in the establishment of
multipurpose community centres (MPCCs). These will reduce the long distances that members of rural
communities have to travel to acquire information about government services, projects and programmes.
Water resources management
Heavy rainfall during February and March badly damaged some of the structures downstream of
government dams. The available staff had to work under extremely difficult conditions to monitor water
levels and operate dams. Farmers were also organised to help repair flood damage at certain sites, such
as the Nzhelele government water scheme canals. The damage at Thabina Dam caused by the floods of
February 2000 was repaired, and the wall raised to increase the dam’s yield. In certain catchments virtually
the entire network of hydrological gauging stations was destroyed, and will have to be reconstructed.
Depleted underground water resources were recharged by exceptionally good summer rains. However, the
rains also severely damaged water resource infrastructure.
The regional groundwater database is operational and rendered, in conjunction with GPM Consultants,
a professional groundwater information service to the region, consultants, and the public. With the support
of all the groundwater consultants in the province, the database is continuously upgraded. Progress has
also been made towards establishing a regional groundwater monitoring network. Besides the existing
network, several new boreholes have been identified in the Lowveld district which have potential as
monitoring stations, and some are already in use.
Water user associations
Good progress was also made with restructuring irrigation boards into water user associations. The
Levuhuvhu-Letaba catchment management steering committee is promoting consultations between
different user groups in the region, with the aim of establishing a catchment management advisory
Registration of water use
The registration of water use has also begun, with the proclamation of the area designated for compulsory
registration. The Nwanedzi government water scheme was surveyed with global positioning system
equipment for registration purposes.
Water quality management
In the past all water quality management functions were performed from the department’s offices at
Centurion. These services are now being brought closer to the people of Northern Province, with the
establishment in August 1999 of a sub-directorate Water Quality Management under the Directorate Water
Resource Management in Pietersburg. It will ultimately consist of a deputy director, two assistant directors,
six water pollution control officers, a control technician, seven technicians and three administrative officers.
A regional transformation committee representing management, trade unions and all structures within the
department was established. District transformation committees as well as gender, youth and disability
committees were also established
The region elected an HIV/AIDS co-ordinator, supported by facilitators at all the districts. The region
completed an HIV/AIDS action plan for 2000/1, and circulated it widely.
Chief Directorate: Human Resources
Our mission is to provide and maintain integrated human resources services and to
facilitate a changing environment in enhancing the capacity and service delivery of the
department, through sound, proactive and relevant human resources processes, systems
REVIEW OF ACTIVITIES
During the financial year 1999/2000, efforts were made to define the role and function of the chief
directorate and to align its business and operational processes with the overall objectives of the
department. The chief directorate also embraced the new ethos of service delivery.
To give effect to the chief directorate’s mission, the following alignments were achieved:
• Aligning the policies of human resource management (HRM) and human resource development (HRD)
with the new Public Service Regulatory Framework.
• Preparing the chief directorate to implement legislation pertaining to human resource development and
management, including the Skills Development Act, the National Qualifications Framework (NQF), and
the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA).
• Aligning policies of the department with legislation in the public service, including, the Public Service
Act, 1999 and the Employment Equity Act, and with values enshrined in the constitution dealing with
gender and disability issues.
• Establishing institutional mechanisms and policies to address the challenges of HIV/AIDS.
• Developing an effective communications strategy to keep staff and the public informed about policies,
programmes, and projects in the department.
DIRECTORATE: HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
As a point of departure, the directorate restructured itself to reflect new directives emanating from the new
Public Service Regulatory Framework. The directorate’s new structure consists of the following
Recruitment and selection
Policies have been drafted on recruitment and selection in line with legislation such as the Public Service
Regulations, 1999, the Employment Equity Act and the Labour Relations Act.
A new performance management system designed specifically for the needs of the department is nearing
completion. A process to ensure mandatory job descriptions and establish an interim job evaluation panel
has been successfully implemented.
This subdirectorate is a custodian of all conditions of service, such as leave, pension matters and voluntary
severance packages, most of the latter emanating from the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining
Council. (PSCBC). This subdirectorate successfully supported Forestry restructuring and the transfer of
employees to other institutions.
The core activities of this subdirectorate are to manage and administer inter alia discipline, grievances,
abscondments and appeals as well as to conduct conciliation and conflict resolution hearings. It represents
the department in arbitration hearings and in labour disputes which come before the Conciliation Board.
This subdirectorate is responsible for the sound employee relations which have become a trademark of the
department. It is also responsible for collective bargaining, the administration and management of the
departmental bargaining council, and the maintenance of the department’s consultative forum, which
negotiated agreements facilitating the restructuring of Forestry, Water Resources and Water Services.
Above all, the directorate has sensitised all and sundry in the department by facilitating workshops in all
regions on the new regulatory framework.
DIRECTORATE: HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT
This financial year was characterised by the implementation of the Skills Development Act and the South
African Qualifications Authority Act. This directorate, on behalf of the department, actively participated in
the processes that led to the establishment of the Forestry Sectorial Education and Training Authority and
the Local Government, Water and Related Services Sectorial Education and Training Authority.
Furthermore this directorate played a key role in the formation of the Water Chamber, the Water Standards
Generating Body, and the Forestry Standards Generating Body.
Leadership and development programme
During this financial year, more than 90 managers in the department, from assistant directors up to chief
directors, attended management courses packaged in this programme.
Functional and technical training
About 8 000 officials of the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry attended more than 500 skills
development programmes, including short courses, workshops, seminars, conferences and symposia.
These programmes have been offered to corporate services, Forestry, Water Services, and Water
Secretarial development programme
Seventy percent of the secretaries in head office have undergone the secretarial development programme
offered by ITHEMBA, aimed at enhancing secretarial skills and professionalism. During the 2000/2001
financial year, this programme will be extended to the regional offices.
Adult basic education and training
This programme started as a pilot project in 1997, aimed at eradicating illiteracy in the department. During
this financial year more than 1 800 ABET learners were enrolled. Most of our learners started at ABET
Level 1, and the average pass rate during the year was 60 percent.
A science and technology pilot project was conducted during this financial year in the Gauteng and
Mpumalanga regions. A 95 percent pass rate was achieved and, as a result, science and technology
modules will be included in the ABET curriculum from the next financial year. An ABET management
course was presented to most line managers and ABET co-ordinators in order to supplement their
understanding of adult basic education and training in the workplace.
A total of 548 bursaries were allocated to staff development and the recruitment of officers who intend
pursuing their studies during the 2000 academic year. The status of all of the department’s bursary holders
is as follows:
Engineering field 35
Scientific field 26
Technical field 99
Corporate services 1 292
Total 1 452
More than 40 students completed their studies during the 1999 academic year with the assistance of the
departmental bursary scheme, and are now employed by the department.
During this financial year 87 officers of the department undertook visits abroad. Most of these visits were for
international conferences, symposia, or short training courses, and the trips were sponsored by organisers.
A committee has been formed to present all applications for visits abroad to the Minister on a monthly
basis. A policy governing visits abroad has been drafted, and the committee is in the process of finalising it.
This directorate has played a key role in preparing and supporting the implementation of policies on
employment equity and affirmative action, gender sensitivity, sexual harassment, youth, disability, and
HIV/AIDS programmes in the department.
A policy was developed and refined and is continuously reviewed. This directorate’s contribution towards
ensuring representativity cannot be overestimated. Employment equity plans and targets required in terms
of the Employment Equity Act are being formulated.
Diversity management programme
The training of senior management on diversity has been successfully completed, and the programme has
now been extended to the rest of the department.
Events of national importance
The directorate co-ordinates the department’s contribution to national activities of importance, such as
National Women’s Day, Youth Day, Human Rights Day, and others.
The core functions of this directorate are:
• Media production;
• Media liaison;
• Project/event management;
• Internal communication; and
• Public relations/corporate communication.
A communication strategy for the department consistent with that of the government was drafted and
endorsed by the Minister. The directorate represents the department in the Government Communication
Cluster Structures, and participates constructively in its efforts towards an integrated approach to
During the year under review, the directorate fulfilled its mandate by keeping the staff and public
informed about the department’s policies, programmes and projects. This was achieved via two internal
publications, the monthly Hlathi Manzi and the weekly Shotha, and articles in the mainstream media, press
releases, media interviews, press conferences, participation in exhibitions, and the effective distribution of
promotional material. A media monitoring service is provided daily to the management of the department.
The celebration of awareness weeks continued to be a significant task for the directorate. The
nationwide Water Week and Arbor Week commemorations were resounding successes marked by
participation of the highest level in government. President Thabo Mbeki, cabinet ministers and provincial
legislatures actively endorsed and supported the events during the awareness weeks. Due to the efforts of
the regional communication officers in organising and co-ordinating provincial events, Water Week and
Arbor Week were celebrated in the most remote areas of the country.
Communication support was provided for other awareness and promotion initiatives, such as Women’s
Day, AIDS Day, Constitution Week, 16 Days of Activism Against Women and Child Abuse, Batho Pele, the
opening of schemes, and the Anti-Corruption Campaign. Support was also given to the Ministry, chief
directors and directors in organising events and functions.
Chief Directorate: Financial Management
To provide excellent and up-to-date services, unparalleled anywhere else in government,
to the entire department in the areas of finance, administration, legal services, and
REVIEW OF ACTIVITIES
This chief directorate comprises four directorates: Internal Audit, Legal Services, Administration and
Financial Management. Throughout this reporting period, the chief directorate has functioned as a fully
fledged unit, with all senior management posts filled. To be in line with the policy of the department on
transformation and representivity, 76 percent of all new appointments to all four directorates went towards
addressing gender and race inequalities. This is an ongoing process which will be addressed and reported
on in future reports.
An anti-corruption conference was organised, with the aim of making every employee of the department
aware of the negative implications of corruption, both financially and ethically. Out of this conference came
resolutions which included, among others:
• the declaration of assets and interests; and
• the formation of an anti-corruption unit.
The department’s anti-corruption policy is being compiled and will be made available to all staff members.
The Directorate: Administration comprises five subdirectorates, namely: Provisioning; Organisation and
Workstudy; Protection Services; Permits and Land Matters; and Government Water Schemes and Boards.
The main role of this directorate is to support the department’s line functions. In the year under review,
the following goals were achieved:
• It is the responsibility of the provisioning subdirectorate to conduct training and to put processes in place
for administering procurement activities. A total of 133 officials were trained in procurement
administration at regional and district offices. As an important part of systems control, internal inspectors
were appointed on a contract basis to conduct internal evaluations at all offices of the department in all
nine regions. Training was also undertaken at all these offices.
• Another requirement of a good, effective and efficient procurement system is to operate on the Logistical
Information System (LOGIS). This system has been installed and is up and running at our three main
stores at Pretoria West, Jan Kempdorp and Worcester.
• Protection of the assets of the department is a major activity which is influenced by the quantity and size
of assets the department commands. In a drive to reduce the number of firearms in the department, 723
firearms were officially handed over to the South African Police Service for destruction. As a result,
departmental security personnel had to undergo further training in carrying out their duties without the
use of firearms.
• Part 3 (F) of the Public Service Regulations requires that, before any vacancy can be filled, the
necessity of retaining and filling the post has to be verified. This is a function that the organisation and
workstudy division undertook when it analysed 156 such requests and only approved the filling of 130 of
those vacancies. The remainder were sent back for modification.
• The division dealing with land matters renders a specialised service in relation to the taking of servitudes
and the acquisition of land. A total of 36 servitudes were taken by way of expropriation, and R3 825
338,00 paid out as compensation. In terms of the Water Act, 1956, the department is expected to
address issues relating to the issue of water rights. By the end of the reporting period, 69 authorisations
out of 202 enquiries had been issued. There has been an increase in the issuing of these water rights
since the previous reporting period.
DIRECTORATE: LEGAL SERVICES
This directorate once again provided the department with researched, reliable and sustainable legal
Its core objectives are:
• To provide legal support for the implementation, maintenance and administration of the National Water
Act, 1998, Water Services Act, 1997, National Forest Act, and National Veld and Forest Fire Act, 1998;
• To provide continuing legal advice to the department in order to ensure that its rights are protected,
exploited and enforced in accordance with the constitution, laws and legal practices of South Africa; and
• To liaise between the department and other legal state law institutions such as the state law advisers,
the state attorney, the Human Rights Commission, local and international bodies, and the courts, in
order to enhance the capacity of the department to achieve its goals.
The directorate prepared the first amendments to the National Water Act, 1998. They were passed by
parliament and promulgated by the President as the National Water Amendment Act 45 of 1999. The
amendments made textual improvements to sections 33 and 34, and changed the procedure for the
appointment of members of the Water Tribunal.
Draft regulations in terms of section 9(1) of the Water Services Act have been finalised. Another batch of
draft regulations in terms of section 10(1) regulations have already been published in the Government
Gazette for comment. Regulations for the registration of water use and the use of water for mining and
related activities in terms of the National Water Act, 1998, were completed. The former were tabled in
parliament, and the latter were tabled and approved. Notices calling for the registration of water use have
been gazetted for three regions. Draft regulations on the registration and classification of water care works
have been finalised and will soon be published for comment.
General authorisations dealing with various water uses were promulgated in October 1999. The
directorate was instrumental in preparing a number of directives in the KwaZulu-Natal Region in terms of
section 53 of the National Water Act. As a result, in one instance unlawfully planted trees were removed by
the department. This was the first occasion on which this was done, which indicates that the National Water
Act is working.
The directorate played a leading role in negotiations over the transfer of water services works to water
services institutions in terms of section 73 of the Water Services Act. The transfer to the Nelspruit
Transitional Local Council was the first to be signed on behalf of the Minister. Nelspruit is also the first
transitional local council to appoint a private body to act as its water services provider, and the transfer of
works was an integral part of this agreement. In the Eastern Cape, the Amatola Water transfer agreement
was the first to be drawn up in terms of section 73 of the Water Services Act, and several growing pains
had to be sorted out. This directorate has drawn up a transfer agreement for a substantial number of water
services works to Amatola Water.
The directorate also drafted amendments to the National Forest Act, 1998, and the National Veld and
Forest Fire Act, 1998. These have already been submitted to the cabinet. Except for sections 7 and 18, all
the provisions of the National Forest Act are now in effect. However, chapter 3, dealing with a fire danger
rating system for the entire country, is still being developed with the assistance of the CSIR. It is due to be
completed later in 2000.
The directorate has helped to draft the first batch of regulations under the National Forest Act and the
National Veld and Forest Fire Act, which are due to be published for comment soon. Other regulations are
The directorate has successfully curtailed the costs the department would have incurred in several High
Court matters. For instance, in Kangra Holdings (Pty) Ltd versus the Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry,
Kangra Holdings initially claimed approximately R110 million for an expropriation. Instead, the directorate
negotiated a settlement in terms of which the department will pay R2,8 million, and Kangra will contribute
towards the legal costs. Another settlement was reached in Wilson Baylie-Holmes versus the Minister of
Water Affairs and Forestry. Wilson Baylie-Holmes claimed approximately R4,5 million for an alleged failure
by the department to supply a contracted volume of timber. The directorate facilitated a settlement in terms
of which the department will pay R2,3 million and each party will bear its own costs, incurred from 1996.
The directorate plays an important role in the facilitation and signing of international agreements.
Progress has been made with finalising the following:
an agreement between the South African and Namibian governments on water-related matters,
including the incorporation of Walvis Bay in Namibia – this was signed on 1 April 1999;
finalisation of the amendment protocol on shared watercourse systems in the SADC region;
an agreement between the governments of South Africa, Denmark, Swaziland and Mozambique on the
execution of the Integrated Nkomati Development Initiative studies – this was signed on 30 June 1999;
an agreement between the governments of South Africa and Denmark on financial assistance to the
project entitled ‘Capacity-building for local government in community water supply and sanitation
development’ – signed on 16 March 2000.
The directorate continues to interact with state attorneys and state law advisers. It represented the
department in the establishment of the National Consultative Forum for Human Rights. The directorate also
submitted the department’s report on the implementation of the socio-economic rights of water, sanitation
and refuse removal. Lastly, the directorate is responsible for commenting on bills drafted by other
DIRECTORATE: INTERNAL AUDIT
The core function of this directorate is to provide objective assurance and consulting services that add
value to and improve the department’s operations.
Its objective is to assist management and the audit committee to achieve their objectives by co-
ordinating the provision of a systematic and disciplined approach to evaluating and improving the
effectiveness of risk management, control and governance processes.
Its main task is to ascertain whether the department’s control processes ensure that:
The department’s operations are well run;
Financial, managerial and operating information is accurate, reliable and timely;
Employees’ actions comply with policies, standards, procedures, instructions, the code of conduct, and
relevant laws and regulations;
Resources and departmental assets are properly controlled and safeguarded against abuse and loss;
Financial, human and other resources are acquired economically and used efficiently and effectively;
High standards are observed in the department’s control processes, and they are continually improved.
The Subdirectorate: Performance Auditing began to execute the three-year audit plan with the help of
The Subdirectorate: Special Projects investigated several fraud cases during the reporting period.
DIRECTORATE: FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT
As part of effective financial management and budgetary control, this directorate has scheduled eight
meetings which have been held mainly with programme managers to evaluate budget spending and control
measures. As a result of this, problems that would normally be identified by the Auditor-General were
When the Public Finance Management Act was introduced, this directorate had already identified the
need for accrual accounting in order to deal with debt management and asset control as major issues to be
addressed in the department. The department asked the Department of State Expenditure to treat it as a
pilot for the implementation of some of the key systems required by the Act.
The closing of the books was, once again, done correctly and on time. The following tables give a
detailed account of how and where the departmental allocation has been used.
Notes: The revenue from the Water Trading Account amounted to R 656,2 million in 1999/2000, against R
696,0 million in 1998/1999 (excluding the Lesotho Highlands Water Project).
The revenue from the Industrial Plantations Trading Account amounted to R 79,5 million in 1999/2000,
against R 79,9 million in 1998/1999.
Note: Revenue and expenditure include Lesotho Highlands Water Project.
TABLE 1: PROVISION AND SPENDING OF FUNDS
(Amounts in millions of rands)
99/00 98/99 99/00 98/99 99/00 98/99
Voted Spent Underspending(-)
R R R R R R
Vote 2 815,3 2 939,9 2 676,3 2 864,6 139,0 (-) 75,3 (-)
Water trading account 2 372,4 2 253,3 2 399,0 2 177,4 26,6 (+) 75,9 (-)
I.P. trading account 462,4 373,2 361,0 386,0 101,4 (-) 12,8 (+)
TOTAL 5 650,1 5 566,4 5 436,3 5 428,0 213,8 (-) 138,4 (-)
TABLE 2: CAPITAL EXPENDITURE
(Millions of rands)
99/00 98/9 Increase(+)
R R R
Government transport 2,4 15,5 13,1 (-)
Project planning 31,8 38,7 6,9 (-)
Water resource development 254,4 203,7 50,7 (+)
International projects 47,0 11,7 35,3 (+)
Water pollution control works 4,1 2,6 1,5 (+)
(at abandoned mines)
Water drilling services 19,7 0,0 19,7 (+)
Loans and subsidies 0,0 2,1 2,1 (-)
Water services projects 650,2 1 070,0 419,8 (-)
TOTAL 1 009,6 1 344,3 334,7 (-)
TABLE 3: EXPENDITURE FROM THE NATIONAL REVENUE ACCOUNT
Statement of funds voted and expended from the National Revenue Account, 1999/2000
Programmes Voted Expenditure
1 Administration 137 850 121 049
2 Water resource assessment 67 423 58 621
3 Water resource planning 108 416 97 684
4 Water resource development 319 331 302 935
5 Regional implementation 1 578 571 1 613 893
6 Integrated water resource management 79 026 68 930
7 Water services 63 887 61 809
8 Forestry 460 750 350 998
SUBTOTAL 2 815 254 2 675 919
Thefts and losses - 378
TOTAL 2 815 254 2 676 297
Presentation according to standard items
Main division Voted Expenditure
A Personnel expenditure 332 649 304 533
B Administrative expenditure 88 875 96 176
C Inventories 61 137 66 090
D Equipment 79 213 60 615
E Land and buildings 23 603 3 732
F Professional and special services 1 023 310 946 989
G Transfer payments 1 201 225 1 193 175
H Miscellaneous expenditure 5 242 4 609
Plus: Special functions - thefts and losses - 378
TOTAL 2 815 254 2 676 297
TABLE 4: WATER TRADING ACCOUNT, 1999/2000
Programmes Approved estimate Expenditure
1 Integrated catchment management 301 711 242 133
2 Integrated systems 1 121 631 1 138 771
3 Bulk water supply 324 567 290 853
4 Water services 624 521 727 254
5 Total operating expenditure 2 372 430 2 399 011
6 Income 1 638 023 1 559 727
7 Nett (loss)/surplus for the year (734 407) (839 284)
Presentation according to standard items
Main division Approved estimate Expenditure
A Personnel expenditure 567 284 564 737
B Administrative expenditure 196 415 205 251
C Inventories 78 197 121 678
D Equipment 22 295 23 092
E Land and buildings 1 938 1 195
F Professional and special services 1 308 153 1 279 131
G Transfer payments 188 959 194 216
H Miscellaneous expenditure 9 189 9 711
TOTAL 2 372 430 2 399 011
TABLE 5: INDUSTRIAL PLANTATIONS TRADING ACCOUNT, 1999/2000
Subprogrammes Approved estimate Expenditure
Management 8 710 22 710
Capital works 0 187
Production 433 153 97 764
Processing 8 239 597
Environment 8 483 1 452
Administration 3 775 238 282
Total operating expenditure 462 360 360 992
Income 64 349 79 532
Nett (loss)/income for the year (398 011) (281 460)
Presentation according to standard items
Main division Approved estimate Expenditure
A Personnel expenditure 399 726 265 120
B Administrative expenditure 8 118 20 977
C Inventories 12 851 12 311
D Equipment 2 115 3 350
E Land and buildings 502 276
F Professional and special services 33 578 54 242
G Transfer payments 0 0
H Miscellaneous expenditure 5 470 4 716
TOTAL 462 360 360 992